A Pennsylvania community has rallied in support for a young family whose two-year-old son, Benny, passed away suddenly.
The Delco neighborhood in Broomall has been lit up in blue light for several days as homes and businesses have gone “Blue for Benny” to mourn the Petransky family’s loss. Even Lincoln Financial Field will be draped in blue later this week to honor the little boy, FOX 29 Philadelphia reported.
“We don’t want any of this,” the boy’s father, Eric Petransky, told FOX 29’s Chris O’Connell. “We don’t need any of this. I just want my buddy back.”
Tragedy struck the Petransky family last Wednesday, when their little boy came down with a fever. By the next morning, Benny had stopped breathing.
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“I didn’t even touch my coffee. It was and 7:15 a.m. I heard her scream my name and I knew right away it was something bad,” Eric told FOX 29.
The distraught parents called paramedics, but there was nothing that could be done. Benny had died in the home on Thursday.
An official cause of death remains unknown. According to FOX 29, doctors speculate that Benny fell victim to some kind of virus, but it will be weeks before the Petransky family has answers.
“There was not a sign there was anything wrong with this beautiful kid. This kid was dancing in the shower just the night before with his daddy,” said the father.
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Benny is survived by his mother and father, as well as their oldest son, five-year-old Ari.
“I have to be strong for Ari because he keeps saying, ‘Wipe your tears, Mommy. It’s going to be OK,’” mom Natalie Petransky told FOX 29. “I just don’t want him to think I’m not strong for him.”
Family members, friends, neighbors and businesses have since come together to support the Petranskys after their terrible loss.
The community put up blue lights to go Blue for Benny, and a Meal Train page has been set up by Eric’s colleagues in the real estate business, FOX 29 reported.
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As of time of publication, the donation page has raised more than $120,000 for the family.
Nicole Gallo, a family friend, told FOX 29 the message the community wants the Petransky’s to receive is “you are not alone.”
“You are not by yourself. We all feel your grief. We just want to honor this baby,” Gallo said.
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Funeral services for Benny will be held on Wednesday. On Monday, Eric and Natalie got matching tattoos to honor their son.
“I don’t know what next week will bring. I don’t know what next month or next year will hold, ten years, 20 years, but it will never go away,” Natalie told FOX 29.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to clarify that Broomall is in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, not the state of Delaware.