“There is nothing that can prepare you for the day that your child receives a terminal diagnosis. I can remember staring at my sweet son’s innocent face, who had no idea what was going on, and just remembering how much I loved him and that I would do absolutely anything to trade places with him. I remember being alone in the room with Benjamin when hearing the diagnosis, and I think I just said, ‘Ok, that’s what it is then.’ I was in serious shock.
While we were at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Olivia [Benjamin’s twin sister] was back home [a couple hours away] during the first two weeks of our hospital stay, including diagnosis day. We didn’t tell her much at that time, other than Benjamin had a tumor in his brain and needed the doctor’s help. At that point, her only concern was when her brother would be back in school and why he was allowed to miss so many days.”
– Gina Hatzivasilis, Benjamin’s mom
“Not only do I find myself unable to speak in anything resembling a steady voice, but nothing sounds quite right. All phrasing seems trite when compared to the most remarkable person I’ve ever known.”
– Sam Reinhold, Benjamin’s dad
A Family’s Heartache
After Benjamin lost his battle to DIPG, his parents Gina and Sam did their best to ease the pain and try to bring back a sense of normalcy for Benjamin’s twin sister Olivia. Her grief comes in waves, and the family focus is to create a safe environment for her to have conversations about Benjamin and his battle.
How Team Benjamin Became a Family Partner
When Benjamin was first diagnosed, a family member reached out to Tammi Carr to learn more about how to handle the devastating news. Both of Benjamin’s parents were University of Michigan graduates and had heard about Chad’s story, but never really understood the depth of the organization until pediatric brain cancer invaded their own life.
Even when sick, Benjamin wanted to help other kids with cancer. “This kid wanted to donate his toys and presents to other kids. We loved that about him. By becoming a ChadTough Partner Family, we think we can honor his wishes and his memory,” said Gina. “Above all, we cannot think of any life event that is more traumatic or more devastating than what we have been through. Whatever we can do to prevent others from going through this or to help them in their grief through this process just makes sense. ChadTough is out there trying to make sure this terminal diagnosis doesn’t happen to another family. Why wouldn’t you want to help meet that goal?”
More About Team Benjamin
Benjamin and his twin sister, Olivia, were miracle babies from day one. They were born at 28 weeks old, with each weighing just over 2 pounds, on January 10, 2011, to parents Gina Hatzivasilis and Sam Reinhold.
Benjamin was a fun-loving and joyful child. Sweet, selfless, and sensitive. He was happiest surrounded by family and friends. His silliness was contagious; he loved to giggle uncontrollably, crack jokes, and show off his perfected dance move — the Floss. His empathy, patience, and relatable humor instantly made you want to be his friend. He was wise, always looking at the good in both life and people.
Benjamin courageously fought a seven-month battle with DIPG before gaining his angel wings on March 31, 2019.
Read more on Facebook about Benjamin’s journey: #BelieveInBenjamin.