For each PuppyUp Walk, the Event Manager and their Walk Team select both a Human Cancer Hero and a Canine Cancer Hero, to be honored during the Walk ceremonies.
These Heroes are chosen because of their exemplary attitude towards their particular type of cancer, showing bravery and hopefulness in their fight against this terrible disease.
Benjamin Bornstein’s Story
“When I was 14 years old, I got hit by a baseball in my right groin area. As it turns out, the ball hit the exact spot where, unknowingly, a deadly tumor was growing. The mass in that area led me to visit my primary care physician, then an orthopedic specialist, followed by a CT Scan and meetings with oncologists. This is when I was first diagnosed with cancer: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was told that we would start a lengthy (18 month) chemo clinical trial immediately and I’d have to consider banking sperm, too. And I was just a kid at the time with my whole life ahead of me!
Following that formative experience, I would have liked nothing more than to have had a mentor, someone just like me who had already survived my exact type of cancer. That wasn’t available then, but I did survive and went on to graduate from Princeton, then earn my law degree and MBA from Harvard. I also went on to beat cancer 2 more times in my adult life. The second cancer was particularly impactful on my life, as my dentist had discovered a small lesion in the very back of my tongue. After a biopsy, it became clear that this was an aggressive squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue…tongue cancer! I immediately had surgery and a lymph node dissection of my neck. As I recovered from the tongue resection, I needed a feeding tube, speech therapy, and it was very disruptive to my active life. And again, while I had wonderful medical providers and family/friends, I didn’t have that like experience with a mentor who had been through what I was now going through. Those experiences inspired me to join the Board at Imerman Angels, the world’s largest one-on-one cancer mentoring organization, ensuring that no one faces cancer alone!
In 2016, I walked away from my career in finance on Wall Street to fulfill my passion and became CEO of Imerman Angels, a cancer support community enabling one-on-one matches between survivors, fighters and caregivers. I’m inspired to help the next group of fighters and look forward the day that everyone has a cancer mentor angel and isn’t alone throughout their cancer journey”.
Imerman Angels is actively growing, with major markets in Chicago, NYC, LA, and Detroit, but we have active matches in 50 states and 60 countries to date. Imerman Angels is a non-profit organization headquartered in Chicago, providing free one-on-one cancer support to cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.
Through our personalized matching process, which is 100% free, cancer fighters are connected with someone who has experienced a similar cancer situation (a Mentor Angel). While each cancer experience is unique, Mentor Angels are matched by similar age, gender, and cancer type, giving fighters the chance to ask personal questions and receive support from a peer who is truly familiar with the situation.