Businesses unite to help sick colleague

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Posted July 9, 2021 | By Emily Parada, Special to the Ocala Gazette

Shannon, Kennedy and Ben Fritz [Submitted]

Ben Fritz is facing the fight of his life.

The 38-year-old father and husband was recently diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer. He went to the hospital with pain on June 24 and doctors discovered multiple tumors throughout his body.

As he undergoes treatment for cancer, the owner of Ocala Lawns was not able to continue taking care of his landscape clients. That’s when his “competition” stepped in. Nine other local lawn and landscape companies are taking care of Fritz clients and forwarding the proceeds to the family.

Keith Brackett, owner of Keith’s Lawn Care and Robert Howie, owner of Lawn Life of Ocala, brought he nine companies together to help Fritz out.

Brackett said he’s known Ben for 10 years and, although they didn’t speak every day, he always enjoyed their interactions. Keith also made note that out of the 9 companies who rallied together, he believes at least 3 of the business owners don’t even personally know Ben but were still eager to help.

Additionally, several benefits have been held for Fritz, who enjoys racing sprint cars. Friends also plan a Kicking Cancer fundraiser and have set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for medical bills. Thus far, the effort has raised more then $49,000.

The fundraiser is scheduled for July 17 at Charlie Horse restaurant and will include a corn hole tournament, silent auction and raffles.

There is also a yard sign and bumper sticker campaign that will also help raise money. The blue yard signs read, “Pray for Ben.” The signs are popping up around the city. Signs are $10 and bumper stickers are $2. Information about where to pickup signs and stickers is available on the Facebook page, Ben Fritz – Kicking Cancer.

For details about how to donate, visit GoFundMe

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