Rich Howells

Wilkes-Barre rock band Breaking Benjamin visits child fighting cancer for Christmas

Wilkes-Barre rock band Breaking Benjamin visits child fighting cancer for Christmas
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Even with international fame and multi-platinum records, Wilkes-Barre rock band Breaking Benjamin continues to give back to fans as well as charitable causes, particularly St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where they have visited children with cancer and performed for them.

Last year, the band came to the hospital bed of a St. Louis police officer who was shot and paralyzed in the line of duty after finding out he was a fan of their music, and yesterday, the Courier-Post in New Jersey published a heartfelt letter from a grandfather whose granddaughter received a special holiday visit recently from singer/guitarist Benjamin Burnley and drummer Shaun Foist, reprinted below:

My granddaughter is fighting an aggressive form of cancer. But with the great people at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, she is fighting a courageous battle, enduring three types of chemotherapy. As things go, my wife – her grandmother – is also fighting cancer. She’s on the third cycle of chemo and also fighting a courageous battle, with the fantastic people at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper; we are optimistic we will have many more years together.

At times with the side effects of chemo, my granddaughter gets very depressed. Her friends at home and school have been very supportive and help out a lot, and I can’t thank them enough.

But the act of complete strangers has brought a bright ray of sunshine into our home so dark sometimes with the shadow of cancer always around. My daughter and granddaughter enjoy the music of a group called Breaking Benjamin. My daughter contacted them and told of my granddaughter’s illness. Maybe they could send a signed T-shirt or something.

Well, we recently got a call from the band’s manager. She said two of the band’s members – Ben Burnley, the lead singer, and Shaun Foist, the drummer – would like to stop by our house to meet my granddaughter.

My granddaughter just had chemo that day and was not feeling well. But after the news of the visit, she was smiling and glowing like a bright star. Ben and Shaun came in with a fantastic gift (an Xbox One) and sat the next three hours, singing songs and telling wonderful stories of other bands and all the interesting places they toured around the world. And at the end, Ben presented the guitar he was playing to my granddaughter.

Wow is an understatement! For those three hours, the cancer beast was shoved in a dark corner where it belongs, and the sounds of music and laughter filled the air.

Yes, at times old Grandpop gets very cynical at life. All one reads in the newspaper is all the bad in the world and the illness affecting people. But after they left and all went to bed, I was settling down and found myself saying “It’s a wonderful life.”

J.A. Mauro Sr.


If that doesn’t embody the holiday spirit, we don’t know what does.

Breaking Benjamin will release their next single, “Red Cold River,” on Jan. 5, the first song from their upcoming album, “Ember,” and the first new music they’ve released since 2015.

Starting Jan. 12, the group will tour the country with Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet for My Valentine. The closest stops to their hometown area will be the Santander Arena (700 Penn St., Reading) on Tuesday, Jan. 16 and the Bryce Jordan Center (127 Bryce Jordan Center, University Park) on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

Read NEPA Scene’s exclusive review of Breaking Benjamin’s recent show in Luzerne with photos and video here and another review of their last Scranton concert with Disturbed here.

Photo by Tammy Heid/NEPA Scene