Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Please Pray For Our Friends

Rest In Peace, Sweet Sarah and Ben...

Sarah Marie Pochy, September 20, 1997 - February 21, 2005

A butterfly lights beside us
Like a sunbeam,
And for a brief moment,
It’s glory and beauty
Belong to our world.
But then it flies on again.
And although we wish
It could have stayed,
We feel blessed
to have seen it.

Ben Bowen, November 14, 2002 - February 25, 2005

Family, friends bid farewell to Ben Bowen
2-year-old who struggled against cancer honored with balloons

By JEAN TARBETT - The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON -- One year after Benjamin David Bowen was diagnosed with cancer, his mother, father and older brother said a final farewell Tuesday at Ridgelawn Memorial Park.

Surrounded by loved ones, Jennifer, Tom and 3-year-old Eli Bowen released blue and white balloons into the frigid, snowy air -- the blue balloons representing the year that 2-year-old Ben Bowen spent in a brave fight with brain cancer, and the white balloons representing the first year of his life, when he was well.

The crowd cheered for Eli as he sent a bouquet of blue and white into the sky and watched it rise.

Ben Bowen died Friday after a year of painful surgeries and treatments. But based on the photos shown in a slide show at River Cities Community Church during the service, the pain wasn’t strong enough to douse the bright-eyed boy’s smile.

That smile was seen by people throughout the community, United States and world as the Bowens kept a Web site with photos and updates to journal their experience. The site,, showed 489,000 hits Tuesday afternoon.

"If you haven’t had a chance to go online and read his guest book, it is worth your time," said family friend Mike Emerson, who spoke at the service. The letters written to the family show the many ways that lives have been changed through Ben’s and the Bowens’ experience, he said.

"They read his story. It drives them to their knees, and they come to Jesus," Emerson said. "And what a day it will be when they get to heaven and Ben greets them."

Ben did not lose a battle with cancer, said the Rev. Larry Greene, pastor at River Cities Church. How can anyone say "he lost" when he’s won the hearts of thousands and brought people to Christ, Greene said. How can you say he lost when he endured pain like most can’t imagine, even wearing a smile?

"Although a tumor took his life, it did not quench his spirit or diminish the love he gave and received," Greene said.

He was chosen by God to walk the path he walked, said Danny Sartin, who also spoke at the service. And it was easy to see why he was special.

"Ben had beautiful eyes," he said. "All you had to do was look at his eyes and you melt. I watched princesses (at Disney World) melt…He had kisses all over that little bald head."

Many at the service wore blue wristbands bearing the name "Big Ben." The sale of "Big Ben" wristbands -- available through the Web site -- helped the Bowens raise about $120,000 so far for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where Ben was treated for several months.

Amy Modchnik wore a Big Ben bracelet as she watched children in the nursery Tuesday. "Ben Bowen has touched thousands -- the amount that most of us might touch in a lifetime," she said. Hopefully, the awareness will help raise funds to find a cure, she said.

"I just think God has shown who He is through every step of their walk," said Heidi Boggs, a member of the church. "It’s amazing. Every time I’m around them you can feel His presence surrounding them."

Before the service started, the Bowens greeted some final visitors and spent time in prayer as they looked down into the open casket, where Ben lay with a Mickey Mouse at his feet. After a moment, a group of loved ones gathered closely around them in support and prayer.

"To Tom, Jennifer and Eli, we’re with you and we believe with you," Emerson later said.

- Kathleen

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