Martin’s aids boy’s cancer fight

Published 6:13 pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Martin’s Super Market in Niles decorated a tree for Bailey Bennett, a Niles boy who is battling brain cancer. In back, from left: Martin’s Super Market assistant store manager Ryan Stockman, employee Marilynn Johnson, human resources manager Lacie Peters and employee Chelsea McBain; front: employees Mirriya Sinclair and Kaitlin Payne. Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

When employees at Martin’s Super Market in Niles found out a Niles boy was battling brain cancer, they knew they had to do something to help.

Staff members erected a tree in the deli area and decorated it with around 200 paper butterflies for 5-year-old Bailey Bennett, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in January.

Some butterflies contain messages saying “belief” or “praying for you.” Others contain signatures from customers who are wishing Bailey well.

Martin’s employee Marilynn Johnson said the butterfly is symbolic of many things. In the Lutheran faith, the butterfly is a symbol for a new beginning or life everlasting. There is also a story of a boy battling brain cancer that found a blue butterfly and was cured. The butterfly is also symbolic of Bailey’s grandmother, who passed away.

Store employees gave Bailey and his family a get-well butterfly card. Approximately 500 students from Ottawa and Moccasin elementary schools also colored butterflies for Bailey. Bailey’s mother was presented a grey butterfly pin.

Martin’s store manager Jim Krempetz donated the tree, and store employees cut out the paper butterflies.

The store displayed the tree one weekend and asked customers to sign the butterflies. Customers didn’t stop there. They donated a couple hundred dollars without being asked.

“We had a little old lady that gave us a dollar but said it was all she had to give and wished they could have it,” Johnson said. “Another person gave us their butterfly ring.”

Johnson said Krempetz, assistant manager Ryan Stockman and human resources manager Lacie Peters gave employees the opportunity, support and resources to create the butterfly tree.

Johnson said she is proud to work for a store founded on the concept of family.

“When we have a need in our family ,we fill that need or do something for that need,” Johnson said.