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News @ ODU

Young Cancer Patient Gets Game Ball and Guest Band Director Turn at ODU Football Game

Benjamin Goldberg, ODU Director of Bands Alex TrevinoFive-year-old Benjamin Goldberg shows off his dance moves next to Director of Bands Alex Trevino at the ODU football game Saturday Nov. 16.

The Monarch Marching Band had a very special guest conductor at Old Dominion University's football game against Campbell University Saturday afternoon.

Five-year-old Benjamin Goldberg is a huge Michael Jackson fan and knows the words to many of his songs, along with the songs of other popular artists such as Bruno Mars and Natasha Bedingfield.

Sadly, he was diagnosed two months ago with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare but serious form of cancer that usually strikes young children.

A guest of the ODU football team at the Campbell game, Benjamin received the true rock-star treatment, spending time on the field with President John R. Broderick, participating in the coin toss with football coach Bobby Wilder and being presented an autographed game ball.

Then, at halftime, Benjamin was invited to do a surprise guest cameo as conductor of the ODU Marching Band when it performed "Thriller." After joining band director Alex Treviño in the director's chair, Benjamin busted out some dance moves that would have made Michael Jackson proud.

A video has been posted to YouTube of the inspiring performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwSPqiAVuGo&feature=youtu.be

Benjamin, the son of Wendy and Jeff Goldberg of Virginia Beach, is one of only about 500 children diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year in the United States. The Goldbergs are ODU football season ticket-holders, but because of their son's illness had been unable to attend any games this fall.

The royal treatment for the Goldbergs was arranged because Matt Broderick, son of President Broderick, reached out to the family about attending the final home game as a guest of the team and the president.

Benjamin has been admitted four times, for up to a week at a time, at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters. He is through with chemo for the time being, but he's far from done with cancer treatments. On Dec. 7, the family will travel to New York City's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where Benjamin will undergo surgery.

Benjamin's mother said he drew energy from his cameo performance Saturday at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium, going right outside to play with his signed football after he returned home from the game.