Benjamin wants to be a firefighter himself someday. On his bed hangs a helmet, courtesy of Engine Co. 72 -- a real fire helmet "not a toy one," he explains.
"All I need now is a fire jacket," Ben said, with a grin of confidence.
Benjamin faces his next surgery on Oct. 6, his sixth birthday, to remove the colostomy bag he has needed since the shooting. Benjamin will then undergo at least one other procedure to remove the pins in his leg. Currently, he receives physical therapy at home and is visited daily during the week by a tutor from LAUSD, so he will not fall behind his first grade class at the local elementary school.
Although Benjamin will miss celebrating this very special birthday, his family wants to thank the many people who made it possible for Ben to be here for it. Toward that end, the Kadishes are planning a private party Oct. 23 -- and they are asking for the community's help. The Bell Canyon Home Owner's Association has graciously extended the use of their social hall and Wright Graphics has agreed to provide invitations. The family now seeks donations of refreshments, decorations and other party goods.
"Until now, we have chosen to keep this a private family matter Our energies (were) focused only on Ben's recovery," said close family friend Maureen Chase. "Now we want to celebrate the dedication of the paramedics of the Los Angeles Fire Department and the medical staffs of Providence Holy Cross Hospital, Children's Hospital in Los Angeles and Kaiser Permanente of Woodland Hills for giving Ben his sixth birthday. We want to celebrate Ben in a manner befitting what he has overcome so far."
Charles Kadish, Benjamin's father, praised Rabbi Ron Herstik and the congregation of Temple Solael, for their support during this ordeal. The Temple set up a fund following the incident to help offset the cost of Benjamin's care. Both Charles, an electrical contractor and owner of Above All Electric, and his wife Eleanor have devoted themselves full-time to their son's recovery.
Kadish said he will never get over the miracle of his son's survival.
"All these people coming together at just the right time (to save Ben's life) -- it was like a philharmonic orchestra, all playing in tune," he said.
Those interested in making a donation are asked to contact Sandy Weiss of Temple Solael Sisterhood at (818) 888-1885.