Addiction Therapy and Research in honor of Ben Van Camp

$13,790 of $15k goal

Raised by 146 people in 30 months
Ryan Van Camp  WEST BEND, WI
It is with a heavy heart that I am telling everyone my younger brother Benjamin Van Camp passed away recently on March 27th.
He was my closest sibling in age and I will always remember the hell we raised as little kids together.

I do not want his death to be in vain and would like to share his story. Ben like millions of people across the United States and all across the world suffer from addiction. An addiction so cruel he wouldn't wish it upon his worst enemy. I want people to be aware of the effects of heroin use on people's lives. This is becoming a daily problem with kids all over the suburbs, cities, and even out in the country. It has been a problem with major highways from well-off suburban neighborhoods nicknamed the "heroin highway" to the inner city. People make their own decisions in life but this is a mistake that can hook you for life after the first time trying this terrible drug. I mentioned to my wife, that finally there is some sort of awareness with the new billboards saying "you don't take heroin, heroin takes you". You cannot summarize it any better than that. Heroin took a brother, son, boyfriend, a friend, a co-worker, a cousin, a nephew and a great guy with a huge heart. Nothing can bring him back but I want everyone's help in bringing awareness to this very real and very tragic problem. If an addict is lucky enough to survive, through several heart to hearts with Ben, he told me it was always in the back of his mind. I cannot imagine living with a constant temptation like that. It is a constant struggle that no matter how much happiness is in the person's live at the time, tries to take over.

Ben was willing to help anyone with anything he could with no questions asked, but in the end he could not help himself. He is now in a better place where he does not have a new battle to fight every day. He is free to be the happy, caring, fun-loving, free spirit he has always been. The stubborn bastard (I can say that because he is my younger brother) won a lot of those battles with his addiction but in the end it was too much. Our family has gone through a lot with Ben and if his death can help just one other person or family then it is a victory. Nothing can bring him back, so please spread the awareness of this terrible drug. 

He wanted to write a book about his roller coaster of a life in hopes of reaching and helping people stay on or get on the right path. He was taken too early for this to ever come to fruition. Some of the happiest moments I have seen him in the past years is when he started to work in the renewable energy fields, particularly for the install crews on wind projects. He was so proud of the hard work he put in and met so many great  people through Blattner. Blattner has become family to me and they welcomed Ben in as well.

I want to close with one simple thought.

Do not ever take a conversation for granted with your loved ones you never know what might be your last.

My last time I spoke with my brother on the phone was two days ago to tell him the storage place called about his locker. A conversation I never knew meant so much at the time until now. I make it a habit to tell my family members "I love them" before hanging up and I am glad I did not forget to tell him that during that seemingly unimportant phone call at the time.

I started this memorial fundraiser to help people that have gone through the same struggle and help addiction and therapy research groups. Depending on the amount, I was debating donating it towards a couple disc golf holes for the area. Ben was always happy to go and throw his discs and I feel it gave him a momentary break from his struggles. I understand we all go through tragedy and not everyone can give donations, but every bit helps.  

Please feel free to leave condolences, prayers, stories, or anything on this webpage in Ben's memory. Thank you everyone for all the prayers I feel we have the best group of family and friends in the world you all make times like this easier for everyone. We all did all we could to help him but God had better plans for my brother. This is a time to celebrate the good times with Ben because he would not want it any other way! 

Love Ryan

R.I.P. Little Bro We will never forget you!

If anyone has pictures with Ben our family would love them  please contact me through this website or on Facebook.
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Update 12
17 months ago

I wanted to thank everyone who helped spread the message of the tragedies addiction can cause. Friends and family and even strangers joined in. Please continue to share the message and create awareness of this. It has been over a year since my brother has passed and as cliche as it is he is gone but never forgotten!

Thanks everyone have a great 2015!
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Update 11
24 months ago

Today would have been the 28th birthday of my Brother Ben that was taken too soon. I will always remember his huge smile, I know he will help me through all challenges life throws my way no matter how difficult, and will help me do the right thing.

I love you and miss you Bro! R.I.P.

If you have any stories you would like to share please check out this website. Everyone has helped raise almost $14K and we are close to the goal.

Love you all!
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Update 10
29 months ago

Here is a posting from my wonderful Mom on Mother's day. The fund is at $12,580 and we are really close to our goal of $15,000 Thanks to everyone and a special Thank you to all the Mom's out there! Please share and continue to celebrate Ben on this difficult day for our family.

This is my first posting to this site as I don't "do" Facebook, but maybe I will start soon. On this Mother's Day, my heart is broken and it will be a very hard day, one of many firsts to come in the next year. I wish all the mothers a wonderful day!!

I want to tell all of you, our great family and friends, thank you for being by us at this very difficult time, yet allowing us to grieve in private. We received over 300 cards and the donations to this fund have been unbelievable. Our many thanks and gratitude, you are the best ever!!

Ben was a hard worker and would help anyone with anything. He will continue to do so with this fund. We are working with a local organization, Elevate, to bring awareness to our West Bend community about the struggles of addiction.

I always told Ben, God gave me him to teach me patience, well I am still learning as it is one of my many faults. Our lives must keep going on, Ben would not want it any other way. Not being a patient person, we will be moving "back" to Davenport in 3 to 4 weeks to begin the next chapter of our lives. Now seems to be the right time. Daniel will start college this fall at the U of Iowa (his dream college "“ go Hawkeyes!!), Katie will finish her college as well, while Ryan and Mandy will stay in Madison. It will be hard to leave many friends and things in Wisconsin, but will be refreshing to have family and new things to explore in Iowa.

I pray for everyone each day, especially the addicts in our world. I pray they find the strength and courage to conquer the demons of their addiction. We need to continue educating people more about addictions. Reach out to someone today you know who is struggling and support them in their efforts, it is a constant battle in their daily life.

God's Blessing to All!!
Sue
2 of my favorite people! You are missed!
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Update 9
29 months ago

Please share or like to help increase traffic! You all are awesome!

Happy Easter everyone! I just wanted to announce that there have been over 5,400 visits to Ben's memorial website and hopefully everyone continues to share the message that addiction can affect anyone no matter who you are or where you live. Together we have raised almost $12,000. Continue to share on Facebook and help raise awareness of the tough times people are facing today! We love you Ben and we will never forget the great times with you. We know you are watching over all of us!
Priceless smile!
Start the party!
The babysitters...or the crew I mean!
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Read a Previous Update
Help spread the word!
 450 total shares
Drew DeBow
29 months ago

Ben, we were on the West Bend Lions together in little league... I just say you a few months ago and we had a great conversation and caught up with eachother! I am very mournful to hear this and wish I would have known sooner so I couldve payed my last respects!

+ Read More
Michelle Gruszynski
30 months ago

My heart goes out to you all. Thank you for sharing your story. Very riveting. May God bless you all to embrace the love and support that surrounds you at this Very difficult time.

+ Read More
Craig Schroeder
30 months ago

We are truly sorry for your lose. Everyone that passes away from this horrible epidemic is another reason that we are working so hard to develop our program. IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE THAT IS SUFFERING FROM THE STRUGGLE THAT IS ADDICTION, PLEASE VISIT THE WISCONSIN STRUGGLE PAGE VIA FACEBOOK. We are loosing way to many good people to a problem that is very mis understood. Our hearts are with you and your family.

+ Read More
Lora Cushman
30 months ago

May God Bless you all ♥ As I lost my boyfriend 12/29/13 to heroin contaminated with fentanyl. Your Ben sounds like he was a beautiful soul as my Aaron. I believe when you are a functioning addict it's harder to see this signs or how bad the addiction truly is. I pray that these stories can help save lives. Your family will be in my prayers.

+ Read More
Darrell N Michelle Jaskulski
30 months ago

I am so sorry for your loss....thank you for sharing your story so publicly. Addiction is a terrible thing but real help and change & hope can only come once it is exposed. I pray your story gives someone the courage to ask for help. God bless your family.

+ Read More
Kyle Kolhouse
30 months ago

I will miss Ben, he was truly a good friend who I have stuck by through thick and and thin. I am truly sorry.

+ Read More
Christine Hedrick
30 months ago

This is Deep!! Heroin - I destroy homes, tear families apart, take your children, and that's just the start. I'm more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold, the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold, and if u need me, remember I'm easily found. I live all around you, in schools and in town. I live with the rich, I live with the poor, I live down the street, and maybe next door. My power is awesome; try me ...you'll see, but if you do, you may never break free. Just try me once and I might let you go, but try me twice, and I'll own your soul. When I possess you, you'll steal and you'll lie. You do what you have to just to get high. The crimes you'll commit, for my narcotic charms will be worth the pleasure you'll feel in your arms. You'll lie to your mother; you'll steal from your dad When you see their tears, you should feel sad. But you'll forget your morals and how you were raised, I'll be your conscience, I'll teach you my ways. I take kids from parents, and parents from kids, I turn people from god, and separate from friends. I'll take everything from you, your looks and your pride, I'll be with you always, right by your side. You'll give up everything your family, your home, your friends, your money, then you'll be alone. I'll take and take, till you have nothing more to give. When I'm finished with you you'll be lucky to live. If you try me be warned this is no game. If given the chance, I'll drive you insane. I'll ravish your body; I'll control your mind. I'll own you completely; your body will be mine. The nightmares I'll give you while lying in bed, the voices you'll hear from inside your head, the sweats, the shakes, the visions you'll see; I want you to know, these are all gifts from me, But then it's too late, and you'll know in your heart, that you are mine, and we shall not part. You'll regret that you tried me, they always do, but you came to me, not I to you. You knew this would happen. Many times you were told, but you challenged my power, and chose to be bold. You could have said no, and just walked away, If you could live that day over, now what would you say? I'll be your master; you will be my slave, I'll even go with you, when you go to your grave. Now that you have met me , what will you do? Will you try me or not? Its all up to you. I can bring you more misery than words can tell. Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell

+ Read More
Christine Hedrick
30 months ago

Such a tragedy to lose someone to Drugs. My daughter just lost her Boyfriend of 13 years & father of her 3 children. She's the one who found him & tried CPR but it was too late. I'm trying to be strong for my daughter. He passed on March 14, 2014 & we still haven't been able to have a service because his mother tried to make all the decisions & wasn't going to include my daughter or any of us in the service for him & my daughter has Rights of disposition so were going through that issue now. I am going to start a fund on here to try to get help financially so we can finally have a service for him. My Heart goes out to your Family & any other family that has lost someone to addiction. Good Luck to your Family & ALL families dealing with addicts.

+ Read More
Audrey Turner
30 months ago

Hi, I'm Andrea's cousin. When Andrea first told me about him I thought she had really found "the one." She was head over heels for him. When I met him it was Christmas Day and she was bringing him to meet everybody. Just like her, I liked him from the start. He was so nice and caring and you could tell he loved Andrea. I speak for my family when I say this, we all thought they were going to get married and start a family and the whole nine. He was taken away to quickly but he's in a better place now and isn't suffering anymore and that's all that matters. My condolences go out to you and your family

+ Read More

$13,790 of $15k goal

Raised by 146 people in 30 months
Created March 28, 2014
GM
$10
gerre manners
15 months ago
LM
$50
Lori Merrick
19 months ago

I was so sorry to hear about your brother. You are doing such a wonderful thing in memory of him!

A
$1,000
anon
24 months ago (Offline Donation)
SM
$100
Scott & Peg Meskan
28 months ago
EB
$50
Eric Brace
28 months ago
$25
Jeanne Niemann
29 months ago

From my friend, Fran Pierce, with much gratitude.

$300
Anonymous
29 months ago
$100
Anonymous
29 months ago
ML
$25
Mary Loduha
29 months ago

Our prayers still go out to your entire family.

$20
Anonymous
29 months ago
Drew DeBow
29 months ago

Ben, we were on the West Bend Lions together in little league... I just say you a few months ago and we had a great conversation and caught up with eachother! I am very mournful to hear this and wish I would have known sooner so I couldve payed my last respects!

+ Read More
Michelle Gruszynski
30 months ago

My heart goes out to you all. Thank you for sharing your story. Very riveting. May God bless you all to embrace the love and support that surrounds you at this Very difficult time.

+ Read More
Craig Schroeder
30 months ago

We are truly sorry for your lose. Everyone that passes away from this horrible epidemic is another reason that we are working so hard to develop our program. IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE THAT IS SUFFERING FROM THE STRUGGLE THAT IS ADDICTION, PLEASE VISIT THE WISCONSIN STRUGGLE PAGE VIA FACEBOOK. We are loosing way to many good people to a problem that is very mis understood. Our hearts are with you and your family.

+ Read More
Lora Cushman
30 months ago

May God Bless you all ♥ As I lost my boyfriend 12/29/13 to heroin contaminated with fentanyl. Your Ben sounds like he was a beautiful soul as my Aaron. I believe when you are a functioning addict it's harder to see this signs or how bad the addiction truly is. I pray that these stories can help save lives. Your family will be in my prayers.

+ Read More
Darrell N Michelle Jaskulski
30 months ago

I am so sorry for your loss....thank you for sharing your story so publicly. Addiction is a terrible thing but real help and change & hope can only come once it is exposed. I pray your story gives someone the courage to ask for help. God bless your family.

+ Read More
Kyle Kolhouse
30 months ago

I will miss Ben, he was truly a good friend who I have stuck by through thick and and thin. I am truly sorry.

+ Read More
Christine Hedrick
30 months ago

This is Deep!! Heroin - I destroy homes, tear families apart, take your children, and that's just the start. I'm more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold, the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold, and if u need me, remember I'm easily found. I live all around you, in schools and in town. I live with the rich, I live with the poor, I live down the street, and maybe next door. My power is awesome; try me ...you'll see, but if you do, you may never break free. Just try me once and I might let you go, but try me twice, and I'll own your soul. When I possess you, you'll steal and you'll lie. You do what you have to just to get high. The crimes you'll commit, for my narcotic charms will be worth the pleasure you'll feel in your arms. You'll lie to your mother; you'll steal from your dad When you see their tears, you should feel sad. But you'll forget your morals and how you were raised, I'll be your conscience, I'll teach you my ways. I take kids from parents, and parents from kids, I turn people from god, and separate from friends. I'll take everything from you, your looks and your pride, I'll be with you always, right by your side. You'll give up everything your family, your home, your friends, your money, then you'll be alone. I'll take and take, till you have nothing more to give. When I'm finished with you you'll be lucky to live. If you try me be warned this is no game. If given the chance, I'll drive you insane. I'll ravish your body; I'll control your mind. I'll own you completely; your body will be mine. The nightmares I'll give you while lying in bed, the voices you'll hear from inside your head, the sweats, the shakes, the visions you'll see; I want you to know, these are all gifts from me, But then it's too late, and you'll know in your heart, that you are mine, and we shall not part. You'll regret that you tried me, they always do, but you came to me, not I to you. You knew this would happen. Many times you were told, but you challenged my power, and chose to be bold. You could have said no, and just walked away, If you could live that day over, now what would you say? I'll be your master; you will be my slave, I'll even go with you, when you go to your grave. Now that you have met me , what will you do? Will you try me or not? Its all up to you. I can bring you more misery than words can tell. Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell

+ Read More
Christine Hedrick
30 months ago

Such a tragedy to lose someone to Drugs. My daughter just lost her Boyfriend of 13 years & father of her 3 children. She's the one who found him & tried CPR but it was too late. I'm trying to be strong for my daughter. He passed on March 14, 2014 & we still haven't been able to have a service because his mother tried to make all the decisions & wasn't going to include my daughter or any of us in the service for him & my daughter has Rights of disposition so were going through that issue now. I am going to start a fund on here to try to get help financially so we can finally have a service for him. My Heart goes out to your Family & any other family that has lost someone to addiction. Good Luck to your Family & ALL families dealing with addicts.

+ Read More
Audrey Turner
30 months ago

Hi, I'm Andrea's cousin. When Andrea first told me about him I thought she had really found "the one." She was head over heels for him. When I met him it was Christmas Day and she was bringing him to meet everybody. Just like her, I liked him from the start. He was so nice and caring and you could tell he loved Andrea. I speak for my family when I say this, we all thought they were going to get married and start a family and the whole nine. He was taken away to quickly but he's in a better place now and isn't suffering anymore and that's all that matters. My condolences go out to you and your family

+ Read More
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