Some say Joey Benton is the
poster child for MUSC's Children's
That's because his face has
graced hospital walls and roadside
billboards to sell Children's
Hospital license plates. The
hospital gets $42 of the $50 cost
of each plate sold, raising funds
distributed through the MUSC
Volunteer Advisory Committee.
Joey, who recently went to
Washington, D.C., to represent
MUSC's Children's Hospital,
continues to work to improve
children's health care.
Joey Benton has
promoted the license plates
since he was 5 years old, and
continues to promote children's
health care on local and
national levels. To download the
application, visit http://www.scdmvonline.com/DMVNew/forms.aspx
Joey, nicknamed "Peanut," is a
9-year-old soccer player with
cystic fibrosis (CF). He enjoys
playing with his friends and
computer games. His favorite book
is "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," and he
is a fan of the movie "Ferris
Bueller's Day Off."
After being born at a normal
birth weight, Peanut never grew.
At 6-weeks-old, he was diagnosed
with CF. From that point on, his
parents knew they were going to
support CF research. His mother,
Caroline Benton, said, "We've
always known that we had to do our
part for Joey's future."
Since then, Peanut has helped
other children with illnesses. At
5 years old, he became the face of
the license plate fundraiser.
During visits to the Children's
Hospital his father, also named
Joey Benton, said it was comical
revisiting Peanut's photograph as
his son became almost
unrecognizable after losing his
Eddie Munster haircut and growing
for four years.
Several doctors and nurses still
recognize Peanut as the license
plate cover boy when he visits the
hospital. To Benton, being a
celebrity in the hospital was a
gift to his son, a child who has
gone through so much. "It was neat
driving down I-26 and seeing him
smiling back at us."
During Peanut's recent visit to
Washington, he shared the
importance of children's health
care with congressional delegates
of the Senate and House. Benton
said Peanut had the chance of a
lifetime when he got a rare honor
to be on the speaker's balcony and
share the importance of health
care for children nationwide.
Benton shared the importance of
children's health care with
Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of
the House of Representatives,
and Pat Votava, MUSC Children's
Hospital director of government
relations and grants.
Caroline Benton said, "The
average life expectancy when Joey
was born was 32. Now it's 38, and
I believe we're very close to that