Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Beloved Kila boy loses battle with rare condition

Daily Inter Lake | January 11, 2021 11:00 AM

The Kila boy whose battle against aplastic anemia had rallied tens of thousands to his cause succumbed to the illness early Monday morning in a Denver hospital.

Nine-year-old Maverick Bench received two bone marrow transplants and a number of other treatments during his eight months at the hospital, but the young man who showed incredible courage and determination during his illness passed away shortly after 5 a.m. this morning, surrounded by his family.

“Maverick was the strongest kid I have ever met — the strongest person I have ever met. He died on three separate occasions and fought back. To lose him now, after all of that, is just tough,” his father, Logan Bench, said.

Maverick, described as a strong student, talented wrestler and great outdoor enthusiast, loved his four brothers more than anything else, his father said. When it looked like Maverick was improving enough that the doctors thought he might be discharged around Christmas time, Maverick refused to open his presents until his brothers could be with him.

“We still have all of his unopened presents. All he wanted was to be able to see his brothers. I would like to think that Maverick knew his brothers were finally there at the end,” Logan said. “Maverick loved his brothers and he loved his friends. He was one of those rare kids that just never had any enemies. He had a way of bringing everyone together and everyone loved him for it, that is very apparent.”

His ability to draw others together was apparent with the formation of Maverick’s Army, a Facebook support group that had grown to include more than 25,000 followers. Daily updates kept his supporters up to date with his treatments, struggles and accomplishments. The condolences from thousands around the world began flooding in this morning.

“We are getting so many messages, and so many of them are the same. They say that they didn’t know Maverick, but he impacted their lives,” Logan said. “He showed others how to fight, no matter how bad you think things are. There is always another gear and more ways to fight and Maverick knew how to find them.”

Logan said the family will find a way to help everyone come together to help share in a celebration of Maverick’s life.

“We are going to rent out the fairgrounds, and if they won’t let us do that then we will figure something else out,” he said. “There will be a huge memorial and party for Maverick, that’s for sure. I just don’t know when or where yet. There are so many people that have been following him and they deserve some closure.”

While this morning has been unbelievably tough for Logan and the rest of the Bench family, he said he does take some comfort in the fact that Maverick passed away five years, to the day, since his father did — something he believes did not happen by chance.

“They were always so close, Maverick and his grandfather, talking and sitting together while my dad drank coffee and Maverick had his hot chocolate. Them passing on the same day is just a little too coincidental for us,” he said. “They had a special connection and I know my father is there now to help him on the next step of his journey.”

A humble child, state champion wrestler, brother, son and inspiration to many, Maverick’s true legacy will be one of love, determination and having enough strength to share with others even when he had so little strength left for himself.

Reporter Jeremy Weber may be reached at 758-4446 or jweber@dailyinterlake.com.