Ben "Lloyd" Montgomery's Parents Post Note to Sig Brothers
Chech Back in a Few Weeks for News on Memorial Bench Dedication
March 19, 2008
To All of Ben's Family and Friends,
Today is May 12, and marks the first month anniversary of Ben's passing. As we go on in life, let's all strive to live our lives as fully as Ben lived his, and taught us through his example - don't take things very seriously, and live each day to the fullest! Steve and I are committed to keeping Ben's dreams and legacy alive each day, especially through the 'Drivers Fore Survivors' golf outing, which will be in late September.
Ben's Memorial Service and Celebration was a wonderful gathering with hundreds of friends and family. Thank you all for your prayers, love and support.
In Ben's Honor,
Steve and Ann
UPDATED: April 15
Ben "Lloyd" Montgomery died Saturday night. For those of you at Founders this year, you know their was a moving tribute to him, during which we learned that he had passed away. In speaking with some of the new actives, they were very touched by the showing of brotherhood through the generations that was displayed at Founders. Indeed, their perception of the fraternity was elevated to an even higher level. I think that is true for each of us. The fraternity raised more than $1400 for a memorial bench in Ben's honor for the WC Arboretum (his wish), with excess funds going toward an already established Charlie Hart/Sigma Zeta Scholarship Fund.
The memorial service will be this Saturday (April 19), at 1 p.m., at Johnstown United Methodist Church, 159 S. Main St., Johnstown, OH 43031. The Montgomerys are opening their home following the service for a gathering in Ben's honor. Anyone wishing to send a card can send it to Steve and Ann Montgomery, 35 S. Oregon St., Johnstown, OH 43031. Also, there is a florist in town called Apple Blossom Flowers and its phone number is 740-967-7673.
NEW INFORMATION: The family suggested two charities for anyone wishing to make a memorial gift in Ben's memory. They are: "Drivers for Survivors," c/o Montgomery, 35 S. Oregon St., Johnstown, OH 43031 or Hospice of Central Ohio, 2269 Cherry Valley Road, Newark, OH 43055. Also, an obituary will appear in Thursday's Columbus Dispatch.
NEW INFORMATION: I've been advised by the church there is limited parking in their lot; however, there is a free parking lot very close at the corner of Routes 62 and 37 (Coshocton and Main streets). It's only a two block walk to the church. Also, the Montgomery's home is directly behind this parking lot.
POSTED Friday, April 11
I've received word this morning that Ben's condition is grave and his parents wish is that today will be a private, family day with Ben. Thus, they request no visitors stop by today.
Again, please keep Ben/Lloyd and his family in your thoughts.
POSTED APRIL 10
Ben (Sig name "Lloyd") took a turn for the worse earlier this week as he suffered another seizure. I am told he doesn't seem to recognize anyone and is no longer eating. For those persons wishing to say goodbye and perhaps gain a sense of closure, his parents are inviting friends to stop by sooner rather than later. Ben is under medication that is allowing him to rest comfortably.
If you would like to visit, it might be best to contact his parents first. Steve and Ann's phone number is (740) 967-3172.
Please keep Ben and his family in your thoughts.
Friday evening (April 11) Sigma Zeta actives and alumni will be "Walkin' for Lloyd" at Wilmington College's Collegiate Relay for Life. The event runs from 5 p.m. Friday to noon Saturday in the campus mall.
POSTED April 1
A note from Ben's parents, Ann and Steve:
The main thing I want to convey in this note is to thank you all once again for being so supportive to our family as we go through this difficult time. All of you are special to Ben, and we are fortunate to get to know all of you better. Ben continues to be in a good mood, has a very healthy appetite, and has re-discovered his cell phone. So if any of you get a strange message or gibberish coming from Ben’s phone, please know that he was thinking of you and wanted to talk to you about something. Most of the time, he doesn’t say anything but sometimes a mixed up message is conveyed.
Also, if you haven’t heard, there are two web sites that have information about Ben. The first is Caring Bridge, a nice site that was created by friends Luke Bauman, Scott Sanford and "Kellie O" Miller. The second is the Sigma Zeta site from Wilmington College, where they have posted Ben's story. Scroll down through all of the notes and start from bottom up. The picture with Ben in the wheelchair was taken at our house when a lot of the Sigs were visiting Ben.
Annie & Steve
POSTED March 26
This message for Sigma Zeta brothers was sent by Ben's mother:
We are very touched to see the tribute to Ben for the Relay for Life. Our family has been participating in various Relay's in the Columbus area for quite a long time, both for Ben as a survivor, and in memory of my younger brother who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 37. There aren't too many people in the world who have not been touched by cancer in some way.
Here is some additional background of Ben's fight....I hope this can be used to demonstrate the courage and strength Ben has shown for most of his life, living with cancer.
He was first diagnosed at the age of 10 (17 years ago). His tumor is Ependymoma, which is a childhood primary brain tumor. We were told that this type of tumor grows back, but after 10 years of good health (following surgery and radiation), we thought Ben beat it. We were wrong.
As you know, Ben had a recurrence at the age of 20, his sophomore year at Wilmington. Another surgery, and a year of chemo followed. This surgery was harder and his left side was partially paralyzed, but through hard work in physical and occupational therapy, Ben regained the use of his left side and by the time he returned to campus, he was pretty much back to normal. As his mom, I worried about him being away at school and continuing his chemo. I don't remember who it was, but one of the Sigs told me not to worry because Lloyd had 21 "moms" at school and would help him through. Great guys.
Ben caught up with his studies and graduated on Mother's Day 2004. Mother's Day is significant for me in a non-traditional way.......for some reason, Ben's recurrences always seemed to come in the spring. Many Mother's Days have been spent where Ben was taking chemo and sick through the weekend. To see Ben healthy and graduate on Mother's Day was wonderful!
Ben's young adulthood was again stalled by the disease recurrence at age 25, at which time began the last very tough 2+ years. Each time the tumors came back meaner, more aggressive and smarter. This cancer found a way to live. The doctors continued to try different combinations of drugs, only to have part of the cells regrow enough to morph into new growths. After four additional surgeries, years of chemo, specialized radiation, seizures, and left side paralysis, we have reached the final decision to stop further treatment.
It is an honor to know that the Sigs are "Walkin' for Lloyd" at your Relay. Thank you so much!
Ann & Steve
POSTED March 22:
I will be posting updates regularly on Ben's status. Check back often and, if you have any information or comments you'd like me to post, please email me at <email@example.com>.
I, along with a lot of other Sigs and others, visited Lloyd Friday afternoon/evening. He was having what his mother termed as "a good day" and his parents were thrilled that some two dozen or more friends visited him that day. Lloyd's bed is in the family livingroom and he was responsive to questions asked of him, usually replying in one or several word answers. He clearly seemed to understand the questions. Also, his motor skills appeared pretty good considering all he's been through, as he was able to sit up and stand with assistance. His appetite seemed very healthy also. We heard he had a huge breakfast and, while we were there, his mother fed him a sllice of pizza (sausage, cheese and pepperoni). When not focused on something like eating, he often opened his eyes and checked out the room full of people, an action that elicited questions directed at him from his visitors. Often after answering in brief responses, he closed his eyes and I believe enjoyed listening to the conversations going on around him. I believe these voices struck a chord of familiarity with him.
Lloyd's family is greatly appreciative of anyone that gets a chance to stop by and see him. They live close to the northeastern side of Columbus and very close to downtown Johnstown. If you wish to call their home, the number is (740) 967-3172. Lloyd's parents are wonderful people. Their names are Ann and Steve. Also, Brian and Jessica Wetzel live in Johnstown and visit frequently, so if you visit you might run into them there.
Please keep good vibes of love and peace traveling his direction.
POSTED March 19:
Ben "Lloyd" Montgomery '04 has been battling brain cancer for the past 17 or so years. After his latest surgery in February, he suffered a major seizure March 14, after which several rapidly growing tumors were discovered. He is now at his family's home in Johnstown (35 S. Oregon St., Johnstown, OH 43031) under Hospice care.
Here is a note sent March 18 from his parents:
This is from Ben's mom and dad, and we know that Ben would want us to send you this note. We don't know if you have heard, but Ben's condition has declined rapidly over the past several days. As a result, Steve and I have had several soul searching discussions with each other and the medical teams. We have decided to bring Ben home and have Hospice care assist us with what is to come.
Although the Feb. surgery was a success, during the past month while Ben was in Dodd Hall for rehabilitation, another mass was building up in another part of his brain. Unfortunately, this cancer is very aggressive and the new mass is already too much established for chemo to help, and we will not put him through another surgery. We have reached the time to balance what further treatments or surgery would do for Ben, and there just aren't enough benefits.
Last Thursday night, Ben had a seizure at Dodd Hall, and Friday was taken over to the ER. Through all of the tests that night, they found the new tumor. Ben woke up on Saturday, and although he isn't talkative, he does know who we are, and answers simple questions. Ben is very peaceful and is not in any pain. Many of you have visited him the past few days and are aware of Ben's condition first hand. We know Ben's spirit is guiding not only him, but all of the events that have led us to our decisions and we gain comfort from that.
If all of the logistics come together as planned, we will have Ben home tomorrow. You are all welcome to come visit anytime. We love you all as we know Ben did. You have all touched his life in a special way, and we thank you for that.
Steve and Ann Montgomery
POSTED: March 17:
Sigs to be "Walkin' for Lloyd"
At the March 17 Sig meeting, we spoke of the upcoming Collegiate Relay for Life, a 16 hour walk-a-thon around the campus mall in support of cancer research and cancer survivors, which Ben has been for some 12 years.
It also serves as a memorial to those lost to this insidious disease -- no doubt each of us has been touched by this in some way. In the last couple of years, Collegiate Relay for Life has become a major event on campus -- Sigs played a major role last year and the entire fraternity will participate this year.
Each Greek organization must come up with a theme by Wednesday for this year's effort (for T-shirts, etc.). The guys selected "Walkin' for Lloyd." The event is not somber. It is joyous and infused with collegiate spirit: music, food sales, contests, people doing semi-outrageous things.
The Collegiate Relay for Life will start at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 11 -- the evening before Founders'. Anyone is welcome to be "Walkin' for Lloyd."