SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sanford International, in partnership with the Sanford Health Foundation, has named Ben Wieman as the 2020 Sanford Children’s Hospital Ambassador. The 10-year-old from Madison was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017 and finished his treatments just two months ago.
Ben Wieman, like many boys his age, has his favorite sports.
“Baseball and golf,” Sanford Children’s Hospital Ambassador Ben Wieman said.
Wieman says he’s pretty good at golf, but when asked why he likes the game…
“I don’t know, it’s fun (giggle),” Ben Wieman said.
Unlike most kids, Ben has spent the past three years battling leukemia.
“1,156 days (chuckle) so,” Carrie Wieman said.
In January, 2017, after weeks of low grade temperatures and sore throats, Ben ended up at the Sanford Children’s Hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“He had the right kind, the easy kind to cure, and he was at the right age, so we had everything kind of in our corner to help him get through this,” Carrie Wieman said.
Initially, Ben didn’t want to know his diagnosis, but one random night in the hospital he asked. When Carrie told him it was cancer, Ben said, ‘well, that sucks’.
“At first I was kind of scared, then once I did it a lot I wasn’t, it really wasn’t that hard anymore,” Ben Wieman said.
“He is fabulous. He made his journey easy. He was so good and so positive and he was just a kid. He’d go get chemotherapy in the morning and then have soccer practice or baseball practice that evening,” Carrie Wieman said.
Ben rang the bell at Sanford Children’s Hospital on April 10, marking the end of his cancer treatment.
“I got to ring the bell and then there was these toys that you can like pop and silly string,” Wieman said.
“It made me breathe a little bit better, it made me wake up a little bit happier and it was just great,” Carrie Wieman said.
Ben will be part of the opening ceremony here on the first tee box at the Minnehaha Country Club when the third annual Sanford International tees off on Friday, September 11.
“I know I’m the child of Sanford International for the golf tournament, but I don’t know what my job is quite yet,” Wieman said.
“We’re putting him to work. I don’t know if he quite knows how much work he got himself in for, but we’re going to have him involved in our opening ceremonies, doing some fun stuff with some of the players, as well, and I’m hoping we can get him out on the golf course too,” Sanford International Tournament Director Josh Brewster said.
“We are a golf family, so that is awesome,” Carrie Wieman said.
Ben will have his port removed in July. Only one parent is allowed to join him due to COVID-19. Carrie was at Ben’s last treatment, so her husband, Brian, will attend this surgery.