It might just be the steroids from chemo buuuuut:
Skiing/celebrating good health and Kara's birthday. I never would have imaged a few months ago that I'd be skiing this year, let alone shredding first tracks down Alder Point at Silver Star! Blue skies, fresh pow, all smiles...which some of you have been asking to see. Here you go:)
Here it is ... first chemo treatment. Bye bye hair:) It'll be a good excuse to go out and buy some freaky wigs!

Well folks ... we did it!! The Hopping Penguins not only reached our fundraising goal of $2000 for the Slopes for Hope fundraiser this past Saturday at Silver Star Mountain Resort, we exceeded that goal by an additional $1,500 for a collective, team total of $3,500!!
Additionally, we each skied 32,446 vertical feet in 21 runs... 6 penguins, 3 wipe outs, and a whole lot of laughs:) We even managed to get some powder runs in the morning!

Thank you to my fellow Hopping Penguins...: Joel Russell Aaron Nasipayko Ian Jensen Andrew Hunsberger, and Jon Campbell-Smith. You guys made this a memorable event that reminded me of days gone by, cruising around the mountain with good friends, creating our own fun, adventures, General Tom Foolery, and even some "parabolic" skiing:) We look forward to doing this event again next year!

Most importantly: I would like to thank all of the people who donated to our team in support of this event. It would not have happened without your kindness and generosity ... and for that ... we are very appreciative! You are all amazing!! FYI: the total amount raised by all teams this year came to $16,000 ... almost quadrupling the $4,500 from last year. Wowzers!!

Thanks again everyone!! Take care and chat soon.

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I cannot thank you enough and am feeling blessed to have received soooo much amazing support in my fundraising efforts for Slopes for Hope Silver Star!! Not only did you help me reach my fundraising goal of $500, but you have exceeded that by an additional $250!!

As a collective, our team The Hopping Penguins is now sitting at $1510 .... only $490 shy of our overall goal of $2000. We are currently leading the fundraising efforts for this event and it is our hope that we can f...ind just a few more donors to help us reach $2000. You can donate directly to some of our Hopping Penguins team members that have not quite reached their own personal fundraising goals as of yet:…/…/IFE_BC_Slopes/SLOPES_BC_even_…

With your help, WE CAN make this happen and IF The Hopping Penguins end up being the team that raises the most funds for this event, we will be presented with the "Golden Boot Award" which we will proudly display, on behalf of our collective efforts to make Slopes for Hope Silver Star a FUNdraising success:)

Thanks again everyone! We greatly appreciate everything you have done to support The Hopping Penguins!

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The penguin suit is good to go and I'm ready to spread my wings at Slopes for Hope Silver Star on March 4th. I only need $250 to reach my fundraising goal!! Anything you can pledge to help me reach this goal would be greatly appreciated. You can donate directly to my fundraising page here. Thank you very much!!…/…/IFE_BC_Slopes/SLOPES_BC_even_…

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Hello everyone! I hope this message finds you all healthy and happy. It has been quite some time since I’ve provided an update on this page .... what a slacker hey?!! Truth be told: we have been living and enjoying life to the fullest:) 2016 was full of amazing experiences and memories, many of which, were shared with you personally.

It has now been 2 years since the last of my treatments and procedures. All tests are showing things are .... GOOD! While my body is recovering ...

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Hi everyone. I hope you are all doing well. My has been a while, so quick update here: life is amazing! That is all. Ok...maybe there's a bit more to add:) Kara, the kids and I had an amazing summer full of special, memorable moments with family and friends, making up for lost time over the past couple of years. Words cannot begin to describe how blessed I am to feel soooo good!!! Honestly... better than I have felt in years! After many months of recovery, my e...nergy is beginning to return and much of the ongoing pain within my body is dissipating. To top it all off...recent MRI's of my head and pelvis show absolutely no signs of cancerous masses (insert huge sigh of relief here...aaaaahhhhhh). It's hard to believe, but this week marks the one year anniversary of my stem cell transplant. Talk about a new lease on life! My doctors have said that if we can get to the 2 year mark without any more "incidents" then I should be in pretty good shape for the long haul. So yes...that means I'll be around to harass you all for a very LOOOOONNNGGG time!! How fortunate for you;)

Speaking of good fortunes: I feel VERY fortunate to have an opportunity to work with Neil Millar and the team at Thompson Okanagan Central Reservations.

This online reservations service is a first of its kind for our region's tourism industry and we're very excited to be launching this project in conjunction with our amazing tourism partners. Over the coming months, we will be adding many amazing tourism products, services, activities, and attractions from the Thompson Okanagan. Our goal is to create a centralized hub from which we can promote our beautiful region to the world!

In order to get the word out and create some hype, we will be hosting regular contests with mind-blowing this Waterway Houseboats vacation valued at over $6000!!!

You can help us by spreading the word, following us as we grow and evolve, utilizing our services to plan and book your Thompson Okanagan adventures, and finally...maybe even win one of the many fabulous prizes we'll be giving away in the coming months! Thank you soooo very much everyone and good luck:)

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We have a contest for you, in partnership with Waterway Houseboats. Here's how it works. Fill out the form below, and we will then draw from people who like our Facebook page. The trip is a summer 3 day weekend or 4 day mid week summer 2016 houseboat trip aboard a beautiful Genesis 75 with tubeslid…

As we come through our journey, some friends in Vernon are beginning a journey of their own and are in need of help. Read the story and do what you can for this family. Thank you so much!…

Peter Dueck did not expect that he would be celebrating his 2015 birthday with the news that he may only have 3 months to live. The Dueck kids, the extended family and close friends have a game plan - and it involves a lot of faith.

Cruising into summer, feeling great and celebrating 5 years with our little angels:) The past 5 years have been filled with a lifetime of miracles!

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Thank you everyone for your kind birthday wishes. Feeling very loved today! Sooo many reasons to celebrate this day;) Hope you all enjoyed an amazing Easter weekend with family and friends! We certainly did. Take care and chat soon.

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The Easter Bunny cometh bearing treats aaaaannnndddd....wait for it....great news! After recent meetings with my medical team and MRI/CT scan results, I've been told there are no signs of tumours anywhere in my body. Can you feel the weight being lifted off our shoulders?! WOW! Feeling ecstatic:) Now...we've been through this up/down rollercoaster of results and emotions before, but after making it through the stem cell transplant/high dose chemo program, it gives us that muc...h more hope and reason to think (and celebrate) that we are heading in the right direction. Doctors have said by the time I get to 2 years, without any symptoms or tumours returning, there is a very good chance we will have this thing beat for good! Only 18 months to go everybody....holding our breath and fingers crossed. For now, we are enjoying precious moments with family and friends, making up for lost time over the past couple of years. Have a fantastic Easter weekend! Take care and chat soon.

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What a glorious day out there! After months stuck in a hospital, it feels incredible to soak up the warm sun on my face and stretch the legs during a walk in Kal Park. I even laid down on this bench for about 20 minutes ... reconnecting with nature ... taking in the sights and sounds. Now it's time to return to my family and enjoy the rest of this long weekend in BC. Hope you're all enjoying this weekend and you get a chance to feel that sun on your face:)

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It's been one month since saying goodbye to the hospital and we are as happy as ducks in the park....QUACK!!! It feels so incredibly good to have some "normalcy" returning to our lives. We are greatly enjoying time with family and friends. Each and every moment seems that much more special. Thank you...each and every one of you for being part of our lives. We are blessed to have such an amazing, caring, and supportive network of people (and ducks) surrounding us:)

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Hi everyone. I hope your new year is off to a fantastic start! Things are looking good here. It's been a week and half since being discharged from the Vernon Hospital (after gallbladder removal surgery) and my stomach is starting to heal up. I've taken quite a beating over the past year and a half but it's sure nice to have some closure and look forward to moving on, toward a healthy recovery and getting back to living life. A sure sign that things are retuning to normal....Kara and I, along with our friend Gavin, got out for a couple of runs in the fresh snow at Silver Star yesterday while ours kids were in ski lessons:) Aaaaahhhh....feels great! We even stopped at Olivier's Crepe Bistro at the end of the day and loaded up with Banana/Nutella crepes.... mmmmmm... life is good:)

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A quick summary to bring you up to speed. Last week Mike spend two days at the hospital with stomach issues and came home. Since his last admission his gull bladder attacks became more frequent and painful. Yesterday he was admitted at the Vernon hospital again and they took his gull bladder out. He did well and is painfully recovering. Hopefully by tomorrow he will feel a little better. He's on the Women's and Children's ward and has taken a few walks to another room where ironically we have a friend there as well. Myself and the kids are well and the transition yesterday went fairly smoothly with the help of our amazing and supportive friends. Thank you again Balance and harmony is my goal always even under these circumstances, I get there by keeping things simple, routine, being in the moment and by you! XO

Here we are ... December 31, 2014. We hope you are all having an amazing holiday season with your loved ones. It has been truly magical for us:) Thank you to each and every one of you for generously caring and sharing with our family! The holidays have been full of numerous, wonderful surprises, including a couple of incredible gifts from anonymous donors:

Anonymous donor #1: Late one evening, just before Christmas, our doorbell rang. Kara quickly ran downstairs and opened t...he front door but no one was there. She saw what looked like a truck...or maybe it was a sleigh, flying away, down the street into the darkness of night. Then Kara noticed a box sitting on the front porch .... hhhhmmmm ... mysterious:) The box was addressed to us from the North Pole. So, there sat this mystery box, under our Christmas tree, until the morning of December 25, at which time we opened the box to reveal approximately 20 other smaller boxes and a hand written scroll that read: "Dear Kara and Mike: There were so many presents this year that Santa had to run an early shift. This has been a good excuse to try out the new GPS on the sleigh. Me, Santa, and the reindeer are going to be pretty busy in a couple of days, so thought we'd drop this box off early. We all know this has been a unique year. Your amazing outlook has impressed Santa....good job!"
The scroll was signed by, Edgar Elf, Navigation Specialist, North Pole. Each of the 20 little boxes inside the big box were specially packed with little bells, stars, festive paper, tasty treats, and a real treasure for each of the kids, Kara and myself:)

Anonymous donor #2: Revealed to us by our good friend Dan Purcell of Nelson, BC, Dan said someone contacted him with a gift for us but the donor wanted to remain anonymous. The gift: something so incredible, it will help us in a special/specific way until the month of May:)

Words cannot express enough, how much we appreciate these and all of the kind/generous things you have done for us, not only at Christmas, but throughout the past year. Most importantly, we feel so blessed to have your PRESENCE in our lives, along with all of the hope, faith, courage, wisdom, strength, and love you have so freely and openly given to us. Thank you to eternity. Happy New Year everyone. Bring on 2015!

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From the bottom of our hearts to the top of the tallest, snow-covered peaks, we are shouting out a tremendously huge THANK YOU to Jim and the crew at Attridge ski shop in Vernon. They graciously offered to set up our kids with whatever they needed in terms of gear for the slopes this winter. What a kind showing of support towards our little family. We can't even begin to describe how much we appreciate your generous gesture! Bless you guys. Also: a big thank to Kim and Aaron Nasipayko for making it all happen. You guys are the best! By the way: Kim and Aaron also helped Kara, taking all of our kids to Silver Star yesterday, where they enjoyed a day on the slopes with their new gear from Attridge:) What a treat it was to see everyone so excited about skiing! I can't wait to join them. Soon....

Kim Nasipayko added 17 new photos — with Kara Benedek and 4 others at Attridge.

A very special day today for Mike Benedek and Kara Benedek today!!! A huge thanks to Jim Attridge at Attridge. Jim and his staff made sure all the kids had the ...right ski gear for this season and are now ready for the slopes. Thank you so much for all you have done for this family!!! Excited to be a part of it. The staff were all rocking their Hope 4 Mike hats and toques from Caufields Engraving

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It has been .... well .... amazingly wonderful to be home! Seeing Kara, the kids, and friends...I've never had so many hugs and I can't get enough. There is no better medicine I tell ya:) To top it all off, we've had an incredible outpouring of support from so many of you. Gifts of all shapes and sizes arrive daily. We are so blessed. Thank you for your kindness and generosity....we appreciate it soooo much!

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Neil Millar to Hope 4 Mike

Mike and Kara at home in front of the Christmas tree, looking good and so happy to see you today!