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Benefit for Ben and Benny - Very special benefit held for local man and his son

November 6, 2014
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Helping to raise funds for a local man and his son, to have a very special and memorable Christmas, The Cottage is hosting a very special benefit for Ben Westerhouse Sunday, Nov. 16, starting at 11 a.m. and going all day long, featuring live music, raffles, prizes, food and drink specials and so much more.

"Ben is a local resident and single father to a wonderful, 7-year-old boy, Benny. In the past, you could always count on Ben to have a big beautiful smile on his face, until late 2012, when Ben was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Since then, his health has rapidly declined. As of January 2014, he was given six months to live. And even with that, Ben's great spirit has helped him hang on just a few months beyond that date, but it appears even that borrowed time, has run out," said Roxanne Jakaitis, of The Cottage. "During our benefit for Ben to have a very special Christmas with his son, Benny, we will have live music performed by local musicians donating their time from Southwest Florida's best, including Steve Farst, A200, the New Vinyls, 3 Crooked Steps, the Bad Banditos, Keith Clanton and The Troublemakers so far, along with raffled items donated by local businesses, activities for the kids during the day and so much more. We have a lofty goal to cover all of Ben's medical expenses, striving to reach at least $35,000. We truly believe, as a community, we can reach this goal, and give Ben and Benny that one last Christmas they're praying for."

Roxanne said, along so many other wonderful raffles and prizes, Lonne Letteri, owner of Bella Signs and Designs, recently donated a $2,000 boat wrap package, to be auctioned off on the day for Ben and Benny Westerhouse, set up as a silent auction, going to the highest bidder that day.

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"This benefit is a family affair, and we are hoping to have Ben and Benny there to spend a beautiful day at the beach and to see all the love and support that surrounds them," Roxanne said. "This is an absolutely heart-wrenching situation, but has moved and inspired so many to get up and help. As family, friends, and this community, we strongly believe we can make this dream come true. With your help, we can make this dream come true. We can ensure that this father and son can get every precious second possible together."

An online You Caring fund-raising account has been activated for this father-son team, as well, with a $1,000 goal with about $650 of that goal raised so far. If you can't make it to the benefit or would like to show your support in more than one way, please visit and search for "Ben Westerhouse." His page will be the first to show up, with the photo above.

For any further information on the benefit, or if you'd like to lend your support one way or another, whether it's making a special gift donation or volunteering during the event, contact Callie Brown, 239-771-3965, or email

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