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Portland Teen Fights Terminal Cancer -- John Dunn

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PORTLAND, Tenn. -- A Portland teenager is staying strong despite a terminal illness. 17 year old Ben Perry is fighter. Perry has a rare form of cancer that will one day take his life.

Ben is inspiring to everyone he meets. He keeps a positive attitude and is always thinking of others. Family members are trying to raise money to help him, knowing his life could be short. "It's really just kind of taking over right now," says Ben Perry.

For three and-a-half years he has battled rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a rare muscle cancer. Ben's diagnosis is terminal. He is now on home hospice care. "I try to be as happy as possible. I'm a fighter. I was born a fighter. I'll die a fighter. I'm not going to let this stuff take over," says Ben Perry.

Pictures show Ben Perry enjoying a life full of hunting, fishing, and riding a 4-wheeler. His girlfriend Tonya has been by his side for more than a year. His parents say he's an inspiration. "He's just a loving child. He's good to everybody, and I love him a lot," says Ben's father Albert Perry.

It is a painful journey. At one point Ben was told he was cancer free. A few months later, it was back. "It's very hard. I'm watching my son suffer. No child should have to suffer, and no parent should have to go through this," says Ben's mother Nickie Perry.

The Perry's say they are thankful for the community's support. On Friday a golf tournament will be held for Ben at Country Hills Golf Course in Hendersonville. It will raise money for Ben's expenses. "Hopefully get a bunch of people together, and make them aware that this can happen to any family," says Nickie Perry.

"Just about everybody in this town is trying to support me, and I really appreciate it," says Ben Perry.

This past week has been hard. The cancer has now spread to his lungs. Ben is on oxygen to help his breathing. He says his faith in God helps him overcome. "He's actually been there for me. He's held my hand through it all this past week," says Ben Perry.

Ben knows the cancer may eventually win, but he's fighting every step of the way.

Ben's parents say he'd like to have his own motorcycle, and would love the chance to meet a country singer like Justin Moore, Luke Bryan or Josh Turner.

Friday's golf tournament at Country Hills Golf Course in Hendersonville begins at 9:00 AM. The cost is $100 per player. To sign up call Phil Mullins at 615-681-2310.

For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn

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