9-year-old Northern Virginia resident Benjamin Snyder is already a third level black belt in Taekwondo but this weekend he celebrated another huge milestone.
“He just inspires me to keep moving and help him move forward,” Snyder’s mother Cheri Snyder told WDVM.
In December of 2019, Benjamin caught a bacterial infection that spread to his heart and destroyed his aortic valve. After multiple surgeries, on January 9, 2020, Snyder received a heart transplant.
“A little hard with it but I had to stick with the things I didn’t like,” Benjamin said.
Snyder’s story has inspired many across the nation, including the Maryland men’s basketball team.
Through Team Impact, the Terps officially signed Snyder to the program. They surprised him with a jersey for Christmas, with the entire team on a Zoom call with Snyder and his mother.
“When I got to getting used to them or talking to them it was pretty phenomenal,” Benjamin said. “Even though I got something for Christmas and it was the jersey that I got. I was shocked by that. Shocked by many stuff. It’s like I’m part of a gang now.”
The team has had a cardboard cutout of Snyder and their games and taken it with them on the plane and to road games as well.
“I was pretty like stunned about it,” Benjamin said. “I’m like how did they do this? How did they put me on a sign?”
The kindness of Team Impact and the Terps has made a big impact on Benjamin and his mother Cheri, who is raising him as a single mother.
“We had a lot of hurdles to jump over to jump through,” Cheri said. “But when everyone works together and pulls together. You can see it through the dark side.”
While Benjamin inspires the Terps, he’s also inspiring anyone else who may have faced or is facing a similar challenge.
“The one thing I just think about is how they’re going to live and they can get back to a new start,” Benjamin said.
With a heart as strong as his, the sky is the limit for Benjamin. His career goal is to become a federal agent.
The Snyder family extends a special thank you to the donor family. If you or your children are going through something similar, Benjamin and Cheri would be happy to talk to you. You can reach Benjamin by e-mail at email@example.com