A battle for Bennett; Benefit will be held for local man fighting cancer

Published 10:28 am Friday, January 30, 2015

When Jim Bennett of Austin was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer last December, he wasn’t sure he wanted to hold any benefits or be put in the spotlight. But after a bit of time to take in the news, he told his friend Brandi Halsey he would accept her help, and she got working.



“I just had a meeting with all the hockey parents; we started from there and we’ve just been building for the last four weeks,” Halsey said.

The Battling for Bennett benefit will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday at Riverside Arena. The benefit will feature hockey games all day and chances to win prizes, such as an Xbox One, a flat screen television, an iPad2 Air, Minnesota Wild tickets and more. The Austin Packer pep band will play for a few hours, and sound and music will be done by Brian Schultz from the Austin Bruins. A free will donation chili feed will also be held. The Austin Packer hockey team will play at 1 p.m. against Red Wing.

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Halsey has known the Bennett family for about 14 years through their sons’ hockey games. She had put on a benefit before, so she was happy to take on the challenge for a good friend.

“Jim is just a great guy,” Halsey said. “He has helped people throughout his entire life, and it’s finally someone else’s turn to help him. So besides myself, there’s a very large group of people stepping forward to make this happen.”

Bennett and his family have owned Old 218 for many years, and they know many people from both a business aspect and outside of business. Halsey hopes there will be a large turnout for the benefit.

“It sounds like it’s going to be a big turnout,” she said. “That’s, I guess, my greatest fear is that it won’t be a big turnout, but with as much as people care about him and as much as he’s done for other people, it think it’s going to be a great day.”

The money raised from the benefit will go toward Bennett’s medical expenses. The event is open to the public.

“Just bring the spirit to give,” Halsey said. “Mother Theresa said, ‘If you can’t feed 100 people, just feed one.’ So Jim is our one we’re feeding this week.”