DALTON — Ben Westlake looks to do an end run around COVID-19 this weekend to help hundreds of sick kids from the Berkshires and beyond.
The 12-year-old Dalton boy is staging his annual fundraising dinner Saturday as takeout only to benefit the Miles for Miracles Boston Marathon team from Boston Children’s Hospital. On average, 400 Berkshire youngsters make 1,000 trips to the hospital each year for top-notch care.
The seventh grader at Lenox Memorial Middle and High School was determined to sidestep the coronavirus pandemic and hold the dinner.
Why? “Because the kids at the hospital are still sick,” Ben told The Eagle.
The dinner of chicken Parmesan, pasta, salad, bread and a brownie dessert will be available for pickup from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church on South Street in Pittsfield. To reserve a dinner, call Frank Laragione at 413-442-8592; suggested price is $12.
Ben’s parents, Tammy and Evan Westlake, said their son has raised about $14,000 from the dinner and other donations the past several years.
Ben has been a patient several times since birth at Boston Children’s Hospital, where the doctors and nurses make him feel comfortable.
“They’re really nice, kind and they make the kids feel good,” he said.
Added his mother: “[Ben] has no fear of the hospital; when he’s sick, he always requests Children’s Hospital.”
Ben now in his ninth year being involved with Miles for Miracles, which has raised more than $25 million since the group was formed in 1996. The money benefits patient care, medical research, recruitment and training, and community health programs.
If you can’t do the dinner, go to Ben’s personal fundraising page: fundraise. childrenshospital.org/goto/benjamin2020.