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Hero Fund

The Benicio Martinez Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research

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Weeks after being the top fundraiser in his 6th grade class and shaving his head at his school’s event, Benny was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. Since then he has had brain surgery, 6 weeks of radiation and is now doing 9 rounds of chemotherapy. Despite a number of complications and setbacks, he is battling the brain tumor with determination. Benny and his supporters are fighting for cures and better treatments for kids like him. Please join them!
Funds Raised in 2023
Total Funds Raised
Since 2016

Benny and his family were on vacation in Orlando when a severe headache and vomiting landed him in the ER.

A simple CT scan revealed he had a tumor in the back of his brain.This was very difficult news for Benny’s parents to deliver to him. Unlike most 11-year-olds, he understood exactly what it meant to have childhood cancer. In fact, he had shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s just days before. Little did he know then that he would soon be diagnosed with childhood cancer himself.

Immediately following his diagnosis of medulloblastoma, Benny underwent a seven-hour brain surgery that left him unable to walk, talk, or swallow — the result of a side effect called posterior fossa syndrome. He’s working to get those skills back through a combination of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. He also completed six weeks of radiation and is now working his way through nine rounds of chemotherapy.

While Benny’s hard work is paying off, he has suffered a number of complications and setbacks. About five months after completing radiation, Benny was diagnosed with radiation necrosis in his brain stem, a life-threatening condition, and was treated aggressively with mega-doses of corticosteroids. Unfortunately, this condition and the treatment caused him a lot of pain and major setbacks with his motor skills.

When he’s feeling well, he likes to join his fellow 7th graders at school, play video games, bake his signature pies, draw and visit with friends. Whether he’s feeling well or not, Benny has an amazing can-do attitude and is well-known among the numerous doctors, nurses and therapists who work with him for being one of the kindest, most polite patients they’ve ever had the pleasure of carrying for.

But when they ask Benny about himself, he doesn’t talk about his love of video games or his baking skills. Instead, he proudly tells them that he was the top fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s in the sixth grade at his school. Now, St. Baldrick’s holds an extra special place in Benny’s big heart, and he and his family are more determined than ever to help find cures for Benny and kids like him. Please join them!

The Benicio Martinez Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research Highlights & Happenings

Ambassador Benny

Every year, the Foundation selects five Ambassadors to represent the thousands of kids touched by childhood cancer. Benny is one of the five 2017 ambassadors! Get to know Benny here.

Your Support Means So Much

These friends and family members helped us raise funds for childhood cancer research in support of Benny! See the 2016-2023 list.

Benny's Story

Watch this video to learn more about Benny’s battle with cancer and witness how his school community rallied behind him.

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Where does the money go?

Donations made to the Benicio Martinez Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research have generously supported a St. Baldrick’s Research Grant for Charles James, Ph.D., and Simone Sredni M.D., Ph.D.  Drs. Sredni and James are researching better ways to treat pediatric brain tumors. at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital which is affiliated with Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is guided by a Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of leading experts in the childhood cancer community, to ensure that every dollar makes the 
greatest impact for kids with cancer.


Who's Involved

These people make us smile - they’re the doers and money-raisers on behalf of The Benicio Martinez Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research. They’re shaving their heads, hosting events, starting fundraisers and more to make childhood cancer research possible.

See who’s raising money

Get involved your own way:

Start your own St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event to raise money on behalf of our Hero Fund! You’ll be paired with a staff member who will walk you through every step of the process, and you’ll have fun knowing you’re doing a great thing for kids with cancer.

Register to shave your head and raise money for our Hero Fund at any St. Baldrick’s event happening around the world! Not finding an event near you? Register as a virtual shavee and shave your head anytime, anywhere.

Head-shaving not your thing? You can start a fundraiser to raise money for our Hero Fund with St. Baldrick’s in a way that interests you! Like biking? Bike a marathon. Like baking? Start a cookie baking fundraiser… You get the picture.

Need help? Email us at Funds@StBaldricks.org

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Private events are for people at the company, organization, school, etc., where the event is taking place.