Ben grew up in Aurora, Nebraska. He was a star student and athlete when his life irrevocably changed his senior year in high school. He suffered a massive heart attack. It would be nearly a decade later before doctors would finally diagnose Ben with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD). LGMD is a progressive disease that causes weakness and wasting, starting in the shoulder and pelvic areas. At the time of diagnosis, doctors gave him a 5-6 year life expectancy. His wife, Tarah, was pregnant with their first child at the time, but Ben never dwelled on the diagnosis. He said instead that it taught him perspective and helped him appreciate what’s important. Ben explained, “It’s all in keeping a positive attitude and having faith.”
It has been 7 years since that diagnosis and Ben is doing well. He and his wife now have two children. Despite the fact that Ben experiences weakness as the result of LGMD, he remains active and is the Director of Operations and a Clinical Perfusionist at Heme Management. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Perfusion at the Nebraska Medical Center and is president of the Nebraska Perfusion Society.
Ben also dedicates time to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), helping raise awareness and funds. In 2009, he received MDA’s Robert Ross Personal Achievement Award, because of his personal and professional success and the positive spirit with which he faces life’s challenges. Ben has also been a guest speaker for Community Health Charities of Nebraska, spreading his message on dealing with adversity in a positive manner.