A local man has taken it upon himself to donate financially to a Clarence family in their time of sadness and need.
Blake Hall, a Jamestown resident and employee of SKF in Falconer, has sent a check in the amount of $3,000 to the Sauers, a family who recently lost their 4-year-old son, Ben, to cancer.
Over the course of eight weeks, Hall raised the money through baking cookies and other snacks, and selling them at work. Hall said he was feeling moved to do something for the Sauers after he had read the online blog that was authored by Ben's mother, Mindy.
"I was reading Jill Kelly's blog on Facebook about this 'Blue4Ben' campaign, so I clicked on it," Hall said. "I started reading about Ben's story, and what his family's life was like as they were going through that, and it broke my heart."
Ben passed away May 13 this year, only three months after being diagnosed with Stage IV gioblastoma - an aggressive type of brain tumor. The "Blue4Ben" campaign was subsequently established to assist the family with Ben's current and future medical bills.
Hall, who has also been affected by the loss of a family member to cancer, said he felt compelled to help the family.
"I started (raising money) on May 21, and went through July 18. It was just after Ben had passed away, which was on May 13," he said. "And the 25th anniversary of my mom's passing from cancer was May 16, so I was thinking about her, too. I was originally only going to give about $100, but I decided to take it a step further and do this."
Hall said he spent between 50 and 60 hours per week for the next several weeks baking, culminating in approximately 20,000 cookies baked and sold over the course of the two-month time period. Thanks to the support of his coworkers, and the fact that between 600 and 700 people are employed at SKF, he said he had no problem selling everything he brought in.
As a "thank you" to his coworkers for supporting his money-raising efforts, Hall said he recently baked and brought in a couple thousand cookies to give away for free.
"I wanted to recognize my coworkers for their support because, without them, I wouldn't have been able to raise the money to send to 'Blue4Ben,'" Hall said, underscoring that his ultimate aim was to support the family rather than be recognized for his efforts.
Hall sent the check to the Sauers on July 19. In addition to the check, he also enclosed a sympathy card signed by himself and his fellow SKF employees as well as a letter explaining his motivation for raising the funds.
"This is the first time I've done anything like this, but it feels pretty good," he said.