Big Hearts: Abilene Boy Captures Hearts Ahead of Heart Surgery

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - When you're almost three like Ben Kelley, you have a reputation to uphold.

"He's wild and crazy. He's hilarious," says Ben's Dad, Jake Kelley.

He's the middle brother of two brothers.

Kelley adds, "He's just such a fighter. He was just born with it in him to be a warrior."

A normal day at his house, Ben can be seen wearing a Superman outfit and cape. He wears it tall and proud while playing dress up with his big brothers.

Ben's parents Mandi and Jake Kelley say Ben is like any other toddler, "He loves to make jokes, he loves to make people laugh. He loves to sing."

While he may be similar to your average toddler, he has had two open heart surgeries.

"He had his first open heart surgery at 20, 21 days old on our oldest 2nd birthday," Kelley adds.

Ben is due for a third open heart surgery this summer.

Kelley says, "He was born with a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome."

It's a condition that wasn't discovered until 30 hours after Ben made his debut.

Mandi Kelley, Ben's Mom says, "We say, he has half a heart but full of life. He's even larger than life, I would say."

His charming personality paired with undeniably adorable cheeks have captured the hearts of many.

"I fell in love with ben when I first met him," says Rebekah Raux-Sumrall, a friend of the Kelley's.

She met the Kelley's at church.

Kelley adds, "She's a precious friend to us."

Raul-Sumrall is also a Lularoe clothing retailer, "I just really felt a calling to help them."

She has teamed up with othe Lularoe ladies, where a portion of all the merchandise they sell on Saturday will go to the Kelley's. The money will be used to help the family stay in the Houston area while Ben recovers from the third open heart surgery this summer.

"It's incredible to be surrounded by so many people that have taken care of us during this crazy time of life," says Kelley.

Despite another major surgery, Braveheart Ben as he's nicknamed, isn't letting anything slow him down.

Kelley says, "It's kind of hard to imagine Ben at 100% because he's, K don't even know. how to describe him. So full of life."

If you're interested in helping Ben and the Kelley family, you'll want to attend the Lularoe Lulapalooza Saturday, April 1st. It's at the Zion Lutheran Church in Abilene at 2801 Antilley Road from 10 am to 2 pm. 


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