Share. Connect. Love.

Posted 2018-06-11T19:29:00Z


The deepest need in the human heart is for intimacy and one of the primary ways that need is met is through friendship.  Over the past several months, we have observed what it’s like for Ben to not be attending school, participating in sports, joining in the fun of birthday parties, and playing with kids in the neighborhood.  Simple but significant moments in our human development have faded from Ben’s life.  Moments like greeting his friends and teachers at school, running out onto the playground with his buddies to climb the tree, socializing with friends during lunch, passing a soccer ball with a teammate, biking or scooting around the neighborhood and shooting hoops in the driveway.  We have done our best to fill this deep void and are so grateful to acknowledge the friends who have come along side us to help through their own love for Ben.     

Proverbs 27:9 reminds us that “a sweet friendship refreshes the soul” and our dear Ben’s soul has been and continues to be refreshed by his friends.  These are the times when Ben is happiest—when he is with his friends.  These friends are able to hang with Ben at his new speed.  They follow Ben’s lead.  They listen, share, jump on the trampoline, climb the pole up to the fort, play hide and seek, make believe adventures around the neighborhood, join on the quads, and shoot guns.  Here are some of the friends actively refreshing Ben’s soul: 

Ramsey, a 7th grader at Swope was our next-door neighbor for three years until his family moved last fall.  Ramsey walks from Swope to our house one afternoon a week to spend time with Ben from 2:30 to 5:00.  They hang out, look for bad guys, conspire in the fort and jump on the trampoline. 

Haley, an 8th grader at Billinghurst, comes over from 2:00-5:00 on Wednesdays to talk about anything.  Ben likes to ask her about the ins and outs of being a teenager, her friends and about her Dad who is a detective.

Eric Homze, an angel masquerading as a dentist and who is more playful than most children has come over six weekends in a row to hang out with Ben. They master tricks on the trampoline (ten foot double bounces!), talk about everything, share Guardetto’s on the fort deck, drive for wheatgrass shots at Jus, and scare me when I come home and they are hiding. 

Nalu, a long-time friend and classmate of Ben’s is a peaceful, loving and loyal friend.  With his mom’s permission, Nalu has left school early for several playdates and a midweek sleepover.  His easy-going nature is a perfect fit for Ben.  Ben willingly holds Nalu’s hand for guidance on adventures in the neighborhood and beyond.

Noah, a long-time friend and classmate, gently guides Ben around his home and pool.    Noah understands the nuances of listening to Ben and the art of playing rough- Noah lets Ben wrestle him down and pound him to the ground.  Noah also taught Ben to ride a hover board- you should see him go! Noah quadded and camped on Peavine with us on a school night!

Nate, Ben’s first true buddy from school—first friend to sleep over and first friend to really participate in the rhythm of life in our home has been tender hearted throughout Ben’s transitioning life- checking on Ben with voicemails.  They’ve shared lunch at school and Nate came home with us early on his eighth birthday for some fun and a celebration.    

Louden and Lander are friends from birth who moved away four years ago.  They drove twelve hours to visit Ben and spend the week with him.  These boys are amazing!  They go with the flow, gently let Ben direct the play but also provide the youthful energy that allows Ben to feel normal.  Ben was amazing with these guys, he stayed up past his bed time and even watched (listened) to two movies with them—something he has not wanted to do for six months!    

Gregor, a.k.a. “funny guy”, has been teaching Ben about guns—taking him shooting, teaching him the protocols and how to find safe areas to practice.

AJ, a 7th grader at Swope is one of Ben’s mentors on the basketball court and on the bicycle.    AJ is so busy but found time to come hang with Ben which meant so much to him.

Doug and Dax, the father son duo who shared their love of quadding and guns, showed our family new way to experience the outdoors.  Another duo, Tye and Ever, loaned us their quads and have allowed us to enjoy countless hours in the hills above Reno feeling the warm sunshine and wind in our faces.       

Truth be told, we find that limiting our own time on this site is good for us…the photographs elicit so much sadness. Please though, keep posting them. We treasure these moments.  The posts are encouraging and we feel all of your love when we read through them.  Thank you! We feel so much gratitude from the overflowing financial support and want everyone to know that it is enhancing our time with Ben immensely.  Like never before, we find the most joy living in the moment and focusing on our family.  Thank you for the many ways you all are expressing your love and friendship towards us.

With Love, 

Matt and Katie   

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Comments (14)

  • Elizabeth Morrow
    Elizabeth Morrow

    Friendship is so priceless. It's such a treasure, a blessing, the giving of themselves--all these individuals. It's heartwarming to hear these encounters in Ben's life and world. Such an exchange of love and what a gift to Ben that he can play and be a kid and be a friend.

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Susan poggione
    Susan poggione

    I wish I could be with you to help. My heart aches for you. You, and your family, have always been special to me. You know I have been praying to help you through. Love, Susan

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Jon and Polly
    Jon and Polly

    Thank YOU for taking the time to chronicle all the friendship and love being shown to Ben and your family. I’m very happy to hear this. Know that you are loved by us, too, and often in our prayers. Cousins Polly and Jon❤️🙏

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Kristin Wills
    Kristin Wills

    Thank you so much for continuing to update this site. My heart aches for your family every time I read an update. Please know we are praying for Ben and your family. May God lift up your entire family. with Love, kristin wills

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Kelly Zoldak
    Kelly Zoldak

    Katie you were that friend for me when I needed it most. You taught me to live and not be afraid. To find joy in the little things and to not let the kid inside of me disappear. You mean the world to me even though we haven’t spoken in a long time. I pray for you and your beautiful family daily and I wish I could give back to you the gifts you gave me. I love you 💕

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Dawn and Jim Perry
    Dawn and Jim Perry

    Andi Grandi has kept in touch with us along with the posts that keep us informed about a young boy, Ben, who we have never met personally, but have grown to love and pray for like family. We are planning a trip out West this fall driving from our home in Branson MissourI. We have discussed with Andi Grandi that we would like to stop in Reno and meet all of the family on our way to Studio City where Ben's Aunt and her family live next door to our son and his family. Our grandsons have played with Ben and Luke and we met Andi Grandi and her husband while we all were in town visiting. We are just 2 more people God brought into this ever growing circle of love. We are so blessed by how one boy's changed life has changed the lives of so many others by letting us into Ben and his family's journey thru Post Hope. Thank you, and God bless you abundantly now and for always. Dawn and Jim Perry

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Grandi

    Blessings blessings each and everyone! How graciously our Heavenly Father provides for us. Thank you may you blessed 70 fold. All my love, Grandi

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Cathy Nobles
    Cathy Nobles

    I eagerly await your posts! Each one is such a wonderful and real picture into your life and the gift of your living in the moment to capture all the best of life. Ben, I love hearing the stories of your friends. I can hear the laughter and teasing from here and wish I could join in. Lots of love to each of you ..praying!

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Lora

    "I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light." — Helen Keller

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Jim Anderson
    Jim Anderson

    WOW!!! It is good that you can find the joy while the sadness is always there. You and Matt are amazing. And thank God for Ben’s pals.

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Jonna AuCoin
    Jonna AuCoin

    It is inspiring to see and hear all that Ben and his family have ‘inspired’. People adore your family. Your gratitude during this time is humbling.

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Lora

    Beyond beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Love you all. xo

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Constance Serck
    Constance Serck

    How is it that children find a way to make life normal in the adult not normal events? Keep posting

    5 years ago · Reply
  • Carol Boke
    Carol Boke

    Wow, what a lot of dear true friends Ben has. It is just fabulous that the bonds remain solid in this time. Friendship does feed the soul and give us something to look forward to. Blessings to them all for making friendship and support a priority. Carol

    5 years ago · Reply