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Friends Remember Portland Teen Ben Perry -- John Dunn

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PORTLAND, Tenn. - Friends and family are gathering to say goodbye to 17 year old Ben Perry. Visitation is now underway for the Portland teenager who died of cancer.  

Ben Perry was surrounded by his close friends and family when cancer claimed his life on Saturday night. Alan McFadden also visited with Ben, just as he has done for the last year and a half. It is a personal calling for Alan. "Best memories, I mean they are fantastic memories," says Alan McFadden.

17 year old Ben Perry would often visit and ride four-wheelers on Alan's Portland property. We first told you about Ben two weeks ago. His rare form of muscle cancer was already taking over. Even breathing was difficult. "I'm a fighter, I was a born a fighter, I'll die a fighter," said Ben Perry on May 20.

This weekend Ben's long fight reached its end. Ben passed away Saturday night. Alan was with him just a few hours before. "I'm sad that he's gone, but to have watched him in his life and enjoy his life as long as he could, it was fantastic," says McFadden.

Alan and Ben first met a year and a half ago. They enjoyed Ben's passions, including fishing, hunting, and riding ATV's. They also talked about God and heaven. Ben found hope amidst his terminal illness. "You got a child that you know is dying, but we got to be there for him and enjoy life together," says Alan McFadden.

You might wonder why a man like Alan would reach out to Ben. It is not hard to understand once you learn about Matt McFadden, Alan's 17 year old son who died of leukemia in 2006. Matt was another Portland teenager who used to love spending time outdoors with Alan.

Alan and his wife are moving past their own pain to help others. They will soon open Moon Ranch Adventures, a 50 acre retreat where kids with cancer can ride ATV's, swim and have fun. "They get out here with their brothers and sisters, cousins and mom and dad and have a great day," says Alan McFadden.
Alan takes comfort knowing Ben and his own son Matt are now at peace. Soon he will find more kids to help. "When you work with these kids, and you see the smile on their face, and you get to work with them, and enjoy the life they have with them together, it's so rewarding," says McFadden.

Alan McFadden is busy building the bunk house where kids and families will play games and sleep. Moon Ranch Adventures will welcome its first guests in about six weeks.

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