Saskatchewan’s annual 20-hour telethon that aired last weekend was another massive success, but another kind of ‘miracle’ seems to be happening right here at home as Outlook and the surrounding community area rallies around a young boy and his family.
At first, it looked as if two-year old Benny Grunerud of Outlook had simply developed a rash on his stomach in February. However, that rash led to bruising discovered on Benny’s legs, and after his parents, Robby and Miranda took him to their local physician, Benny was sent to the pediatric emergency wing in Saskatoon. One day later, the Grunerud family received the shocking news that Benny had been diagnosed with what’s known as Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL.
The diagnosis means that the precocious, blond-haired little boy is looking at approximately three years of treatment at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. Such treatments will include chemotherapy either through an IV or a spinal injection, steroid injections, as well as blood transfusions to keep Benny’s blood cells and platelets where they need to be.
Such devastating news is enough to rock the emotions of anyone, but while Robby and Miranda put all their attention on Benny’s upcoming medical journey, it wasn’t long before family, friends, and the community began to come together with one goal in mind – put as much support behind the Grunerud family as humanly possible.
A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign was launched just days after Benny’s diagnosis which has blown away all expectations. The original financial goal of $15,000 has been obliterated, with more than $43,000 having been raised at the time of this article’s publication.
Adding to this are initiatives in place from a number of Outlook and area businesses. At the Terrace Dining Room in Broderick, an ‘Eggs Benny for Benny’ fundraiser will donate a portion of proceeds to the family for every purchase of an eggs benedict meal sold on Sundays. At Regal Motors through the month of March, the dealership will donate $5.00 from every service completed, and $100 will be donated for every vehicle sold.
As well, an online auction fundraiser on Facebook entitled ‘Benny’s Battalion’ will run from March 4 to 7.
Joining these support initiatives is the Reel Theatre in Outlook, which will host a 'Benny's Battalion Weekend' fundraiser for the Grunerud family from March 19 to 21, playing three different family movies over three nights in which every dollar of admissions will go to aiding Benny's fight with leukemia. People can follow the Reel Theatre on Facebook to learn how to reserve tickets and check out some prizes and giveaways.
Such measures from those in the community have certainly not gone unnoticed by the Grunerud family, with Robby describing all of it as “unreal” as many emotions have washed over him and Miranda in such a short amount of time.
Since Benny’s diagnosis, he and his family had been staying in Saskatoon for his first round of treatment and everyone was able to come home last weekend. The young boy has been doing well, or as well as one can expect, and Robby and Miranda are incredibly grateful for the immense care from the staff at Jim Pattison and for what this community is doing for their family.
Supporters can donate to the Benny GoFundMe campaign at the following link: http://gofundme.com/f/help-little-benny-beat-leukemia and you can check out the Facebook auction page at this link: http://facebook.com/groups/891813971644186/
We here at The Outlook are aware that in reporting the news, the media should strive for a neutral approach and not appear to push any certain narrative. However, we are also, at the heart of it, a community news publication and we take that word ‘community’ very seriously, particularly when a family in our area is struggling. With that in mind, we ask that our readers join the battalion and the efforts to support Benny Grunerud and his family if they can.