Lafayette, Louisiana Boy Meets Odessa, Texas Firefighter Who Donated Bone Marrow, Story Featured on Good Morning America
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - On Mardi Gras Day, Good Morning America featured the amazing story of a 12-year-old boy's fight against cancer and when the Lafayette child met a Texas firefighter whose bone marrow donation helped to save his life.
Young Camden Barnard starts off his story by telling viewers that his fight against cancer began four years ago when he was 8-years-old. He says how an earache led to blood being drawn which showed that cancer was there. His mom and dad - Pat Barnard and Carlee Barton - then each share how they processed the news and the heartbreak in having to tell Camden that he had cancer - twice.
Camden and his parents then described the process of how Camden's donor was found to be a match. In fact, there were 50 matches found for Camden but Pat wondered:
50 matches is great but who is gonna answer the call?
Ben Denney of Odessa answered the call. Then, Pat began reaching out on social media to find out who Camden's donor was, which eventually led him to Ben. As a firefighter, Ben fields life-saving calls for a living but this one really hit him emotionally:
I'm not an emotional person. I had to take some time and go out in the backyard by myself and kind of process it.
Over the Mardi Gras holiday season, Ben came to the Lafayette area to meet Camden and his family as Pat offered Ben a ride on his Mardi Gras float in the Carencro parade. And, as you will see in the GMA feature, Camden and all of his loved ones got to show Ben the Cajun culture.
Camden and his loved ones will make a return trip to Odessa as the city recently recognized Ben's sacrifice.
As we know, our Cajun culture is a very giving one. In talking with Pat over the weekend, he told me that the people of Acadiana came together through fundraising efforts to help pay the medical bills in full.
As a father of two children, this story hits me in a special way. Ben - who once would have been a random person to Camden - decided to make a special sacrifice through Be the Match for a boy and his family who he did not know. I can't imagine what Pat and Carlee have gone through these last four years. Thank God for the the hospital staff who treated Camden and for Ben's sacrifice.
Camden has a message for cancer after surviving it for the second time.
Now you're down. Stay down. Go away. Now I'm done with you. Now I get to do whatever I want.
Please watch their story below as GMA does an excellent job showing it to the country.