I Am Ben Ben

by Josh Kerr | Apr 14, 2023


“Do you see the face? I know I can. A face that’s filled by colours who create a representation of myself at hard times of medications withdrawals. When I look at the beauty of a soul, personality is very obvious.”

Those were the words of Ben Ben Chimol, a grade 12 student at Gray Academy of Jewish Education who lost his battle with cancer on December 1, 2022.

Ben’s parents, Tatiana and David, along with Gray Academy, have been working since then to put together a way to honour his memory. A way to spotlight the brightness he brought to the lives of anyone who met him.

In March 2023, the Ben Ben Chimolz”l Simchat Chayim Fund was launched at the Foundation, a new fund within Gray Academy’s endowment. Income from this fund will be used for programs in the school that bring joy to others, something Ben did on a daily basis. The fund is a way for students to share their passions and celebrate their achievements.

Ben’s passion for art was second to none, which is evident when anyone sees his paintings.

His kindness and perspective on life were beyond that of a high school student, something that his writing reflects beautifully. At a school-wide memorial on the day the fund launched, Ben’s friends and sister spoke to their classmates, and each shared the same portrait of who he was; someone who listened, cared, and would make you smile at the drop of a dime.

“What about the future? Will I live? Will I succeed? Will I keep my personality? For those questions, I have an answer, but the understanding of my answer can only be described by a smoke screen who presents uncertainty of the future. That’s why I am Ben Ben, a Better Ben Ben, to be a Better Ben Ben.”

As part of the launch, Gray Academy held its Casual Day for A Cause, with donations going to the new fund. Through Gray Academy’s efforts, the fund reached $5,000 in the first three days, halfway to its initial goal.

If you would like to make a gift to the Ben Ben Chimolz”l Simchat Chayim Fund please click here.