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Elmhurst cancer survivor continues to raise awareness, funds with Ben's Chocolate Stand

Published: Friday, Nov. 18, 2016 5:00 p.m. CDT
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Ben Hoffman, who has been cancer free since 2009, raised over $12,000 in the second annual Ben's Chocolate Stand.

ELMHURST – Eleven-year-old brain cancer survivor Ben Hoffmann will set up the third annual Ben’s Chocolate Stand on Nov. 19 in his Elmhurst driveway to raise funds for the hospital where he received treatment.

More than 200 people are expected to join the Lincoln Elementary fifth-grader and his family for hot cocoa, chocolate bark and other chocolate-dipped treats, with all proceeds benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

When Ben was five months old, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called a primitive neuroectodermal tumor. He immediately began treatment through the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program at Lurie Children’s, and over the course of four years endured several cycles of high-dose chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and multiple brain surgeries to resect the tumor. Ben has been cancer-free since his last surgery in May 2009.

The idea for Ben’s Chocolate Stand was born in the fall of 2014 when Ben reached the milestone of five cancer-free years. The Hoffmanns (parents Joe and Tricia, Ben, and siblings Emmett, now 9 and Jocelyn, now 7) wanted to give back to the team of doctors and nurses who treated Ben, while also helping other kids suffering from brain tumors.

“Ben was always asking to hold a lemonade stand in our driveway, but we didn’t think cold lemonade would be a big draw in November. Hot cocoa seemed like a much better option,” Tricia Hoffmann said.

Ben didn’t stop with hot cocoa. He and his siblings began melting morsels to make an assortment of chocolate bark and chocolate-dipped treats to sell along with the cocoa. The first Ben’s Chocolate Stand raised more than $8,400 for Lurie Children’s. Last year’s stand raised $12,843.

For the second year in a row, Nestle USA donated Nestle Tollhouse morsels and Nestle hot cocoa mix to help make the more than 500 packages of chocolate bark, 15 gallons of hot cocoa and 200-plus packages of chocolate-dipped cookies and marshmallows expected to be sold.

Bounce Houses R Us, an Elmhurst-based business, is donating a bounce house for the event, which will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 19.

Ben’s foundation page will remain live and continue to accept donations until it is reset for next year’s event. Visit Lhttp://foundation.luriechildrens.org/goto/BensChocolateStand

To learn more about Ben’s Chocolate Stand, contact Tricia Hoffmann at 630-222-6226 or Parkside.tricia@gmail.com.

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