Ben Baltz is an 11-year-old cancer survivor. He lost his right leg to bone cancer when he was just 6 years old and has been walking, running, and playing soccer and baseball with the aid of a prosthetic leg and a mechanical knee.
Just last weekend, Ben competed in the Sea Turtle Tri-Kids Triatholon. After completing the 150-yard swim and the four-mile bike ride, Ben had made it halfway through the one-mile run when one of the screws in his knee came loose and the prosthetic broke in half. His mother, Kim, said she knew that Ben was probably tired, but she didn't know what had happened to his leg.
Suddenly an announcer asked everyone to turn around. That's when the crowd saw that Marines who were there to volunteer their assistance at the triathlon were running alongside Pfc. Matthew Morgan, a Marine who had picked Ben up and was giving him a piggyback ride across the finish line. There were not many dry eyes in the audience.
Kim Baltz said that Ben was a little embarrassed that he was unable to finish the race on his own and had to be carried. His parents did their best to assure him that he became an inspiration to a lot of people that day. Kim Baltz told CNN, "We want to give him the message that he can do anything, and he has an inspirational story, and he just needs to be thankful that he is able to do it because there are a lot of kids out there that are still fighting cancer. We just want him to get out there and participate in life."
Reaction to Ben and the Marines has been overwhelmingly positive, with many people tweeting about what an inspiration his story is. One person wrote, "this story gives me chills." Another person called both Ben and Matthew, "heroes."
- Athletics, Track & Field