kids

Little Boy Braving Cancer Treatment Receives Hundreds Of Superhero Drawings

by Rebecca Landman
Rebecca is a writer living the Los Angeles dream. She loves hiking, music, and crocheting on her couch to the background lull of Netflix. She believes our world is complex. By sharing and listening to each other’s stories, we unpack that complexity layer by layer, learning more about who we are and how we want to live our lives. She writes to keep learning.

Recently, 3-year-old Ben Austin and his family received disheartening news.

Austin was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor — a form of pediatric kidney cancer — and will soon undergo rounds of chemotherapy and surgery.

While his upcoming road will be undoubtedly tough, this little boy has already received boatloads of support from his family, friends, and kind strangers thanks to his cousin, Christie Conway’s ingenious plan.

Knowing little Austin had always been fascinated with all things superhero, Conway suggested via Facebook that her entire family and friends each draw Austin a superhero — empowering him to persevere through his next cancer challenge.

Soon after Conway posted her call to action, her cousin, Jonelle Kusminsky, reposted her idea, setting a movement in motion that has already blessed little Austin with hundreds of different, thoughtful superhero drawings, each boasting their own empowering, motivational message.

This lucky boy’s remarkable community is doing all it can to ensure sure he doesn’t, for one minute, feel like he’s braving this fight alone.

Keep scrolling through to learn more about Austin’s adorable superheroes.

[H/T: Today]

boy with mom
Christie Conway

A few weeks ago, 3-year-old Ben Austin was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor — a form of pediatric kidney cancer.

boy with dad and baby
Christie Conway

Soon, this precious little boy will start his new, months-long journey, undergoing chemotherapy treatment and surgery.

boy hugs girl
Christie Conway

Luckily, this sweet boy is part of a strong and supportive family, all of whom, upon learning his diagnosis, jumped into action determined to lift his spirits and keep him feeling positive.

boy with grandma
Christie Conway

While looking for ways to keep her cousin happy and strong, Christie Conway came up with a heartwarming plan.

Knowing her little cousin was absolutely fascinated by superheroes, she posted on Facebook, asking family and friends to draw Austin uplifting superhero drawings.

She was hoping Austin would draw strength from these superheroes, tasked with keeping him company during his upcoming cancer battle.

ben with family
Christie Conway

Of dreaming up her plan, Conway told LittleThings, “I thought that drawing pictures of something he likes would be a therapeutic activity to try to help them cope with the stress, and it would be making Ben happy, too.

“It started as a Facebook status, asking friends and family to draw pictures for Ben.”

happy boy
Christie Conway

Soon, though, her simple request snowballed into a viral movement.

Her cousin Jonelle Musminsky reposted her post, and Conway said, “By the time I finished drawing my second picture, my cousin was contacted by an editor from the NBC news.”

little superhero
Christie Conway

As publicity increased, hundreds of different superhero drawings began flooding in, each with its own heartfelt and empowering message, encouraging little Austin to brave his next challenge as best he can.

superhero drawing
Christie Conway

Austin’s father, Jason Austin, told LittleThings, “For us, it’s just amazing to see the outpouring of support from everyone. With everything going on in their own lives, they take a few minutes to do something nice for someone else that may even be a stranger.”

superhero drawings

“It just reminds you to take a few minutes from your own life now and then, and do something nice for someone else.”

superheros drawing

What started as a simple request has since spiraled into a beautiful abundance of support.

Each message is its own beacon of strength for Austin to carry with him into the next leg of his journey.

kids with drawings

As more and more drawings roll in, Ben continues fawning over each and every one.

Jason Austin told LittleThings, “Ben is a totally normal 3-and-a-half-year-old boy who has a tough disease, but a positive outlook.

“He looks at every single picture drawn for him at least two to three times, and I’ve put him to bed for the last two nights going over more of the drawings. It’s going to be a long road, but we’ll get through this.”

superhero drawing

Austin will undergo 12 weeks of chemotherapy, after which time doctors will decide how much of his kidney will need to be removed.

With his superheroes cheering him on, though, little Austin is hoping to soar right past this life obstacle.

superhero drawing

“Family members – in particular Sara and Jason’s parents,” Austin’s Aunt Jonelle Kusminsky explained, “who were enjoying empty-nesting are now full-on caregivers themselves, really looking after Sara and Jason and providing very hands-on support whenever they can.

“It’s pretty emblematic of how much our family cares for one another. I’d also add, of course, that Ben is a new big brother to baby Elle.”

superhero drawing

In response to the unexpected waves of unbridled support flooding their hearts, the Austin family updated their GoFundMe page, writing, “The outpouring of love, support, superhero pictures and donations is so overwhelming that I am completely without words.

“In starting this fund, I thought it would be a small way to help. This community has provided aid on a much larger scale. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all. It is so greatly appreciated.”

little superhero

Kusminsky told LittleThings, “While this initiative was launched to show this one little boy just how much his village loves him, it’s made me (and probably the whole family on some level) and everyone who’s participated in any degree in #SuperheroesForBenny, feel connected to their OWN village, collectively a part of doing good.”

little superhero

Faced with a scary cancer diagnosis, this lucky little boy’s entire community rallied to support his journey. Hundreds of folks drew him his own empowering fleet of superheroes, ready and willing to keep his spirits up while he battles Bad Guy Cancer.

What do you think about Ben’s superheroes? Have you ever helped a child brave a serious illness? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Would you like to donate to Austin’s battle or send him a superhero picture? Find out more at his GoFundMe page, here.

Please SHARE this empowering story with other parents in your community.