Ellis Elementary student beats brain cancer
Published 9:58 am Monday, March 3, 2014
Seven-year-old Bailey Bennett was wearing a dark green t-shirt with the words, “I kicked cancer’s butt!” written across the front.
His dozen or so first-grade classmates at Ellis Elementary in Niles were all wearing gray bracelets in support of Bailey’s brave fight against brain cancer.
More than a month ago, an MRI revealed that Bailey was cancer free.
To celebrate, the school declared Friday as Bailey Bennett day, throwing a party that included his classmates, school staff and family.
“We’ve seen him at his worst health-wise and now we are seeing him at his best,” said Bev Ostrander, Bailey’s first-grade teacher. “The best thing for me is to see him just being a first grader and not a kid with cancer.”
Bailey’s mother, Stefanie, said her son was diagnosed with brain cancer on Jan. 17, 2012. After an extensive recovery period that included brain surgery to remove the tumor and radiation treatment, Bailey returned to school full time at the beginning of this school year.
Stefanie said the cancer’s greatest chance of returning was within the first two years.
“He’s been clean, so we’re hoping,” she said. “At first you can’t imagine to deal with anything like that, but with all the support from family, friends and people we don’t even know — it’s amazing. Because of all them we’ve made it this far.”
Classmates sang, played games, read cards and gave Bailey a present before the party culminated with a pizza feast.
Bailey said he’s glad to be back in school and enjoys playing with his friends. When asked how much the support meant to him, he said “a lot.”
Suann Jewell was Bailey’s kindergarten teacher when he was first diagnosed. She gave Bailey a big hug in the middle of the party.
“It is an answer to a prayer and a blessing to see him walk down the hallways here. I hug him every chance I can get,” she said. “The kids love him and appreciate him and the family is awesome. It is just great to see what he is becoming and the strength that he has. I know it’s been hard but he made it. He’s a fighter.”