News

Actions

Metro Detroit community, WWE rallies together to help Hazel Park boy with cancer

Posted at 11:25 PM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-22 12:38:23-05

Nine months ago, Torrin Breneman decided he could help kids with cancer by donating his hair. 

"People don’t have hair because they get sick. And when you cut your hair, it would turn into a wig so they could wear it...and not one of those fake wigs like you see at the store" said the 12-year-old. 

Little did he know, six months later, he would be diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma. Now he is the one in need of a wig. Over the past three months, rigorous chemotherapy caused Torrin to lose all of his beautiful hair.

The news for Torrin's father, Jason Breneman, and his wife, Carrie, was devastating. 
 
"It's hard to come to the realization that he has what he has...dealing with what he’s going through, watching him be sick every day, in pain," said Breneman. 
 
Channel 7 first met Torrin at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in October before the chemotherapy had begun, but the pain was already visible.
 
Channel 7 knew then that Torrin was a special little boy with a big heart but seemed to be lacking a little hope.
 
But then, Torrin’s story went viral -- getting picked up by national publications, with the family being asked to join the Ellen show as a guest when his treatment wraps up.
 
And even better than that for this crazed WWE fan, a personal message from his wrestling hero, Seth Rollins, not to mention personal one-on-one face-time with the WWE’s Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. 
 
While the WWE was working on lifting his spirit, more vital help was happening here at home.
 
After seeing our story on 7 Action News, two families with home improvement companies came together to help the Brenemans with some much-needed repairs.
 
Randazzo Heating & Cooling put in a new furnace, electrical plumbing and flooring, while Schoenherr Roofing replaced the doors and roof.
 
"It just tears your heart apart. Given the time of year, and everything else, I couldn’t fathom what the family was going through," said Mike Randazzo, who led part of the renovation. 
 
Tight on finances, the family says the help has been life changing -- while the support more generally has been incredibly uplifting for their son. 
 
"I got to see how much everyone appreciated me. I didn’t think that before. I thought I had very few friends. After this, I found out I had lots of friends," said the Hazel Park pre-teen. 
 
Torrin’s treatment isn’t quite over, but the good news is that he will get to spend Christmas at home, unlike other kids still being treated at Children’s Hospital. 
 
And at the top of his Christmas list this year? Not toys for himself but rather for the fellow patients he’s leaving behind.
 
"I seen people that were much worse than I was. I feel like this would help them because they’re not going to be spending Christmas at home with their families. No Christmas tree. No nothing," said Torrin. 
 
Torrin decided he wanted to give back, and that’s exactly what he’s doing today -- dropping off a load of toys that he and his family helped collect.
 
"He’s an amazing boy with a big heart, and everyone wants to hear his story," said Breneman. 
 
Torrin says he wants to share his story with others. So he’s started a YouTube channel called Torrin Strong, a place where he plans to share his life, in the hopes of lifting up the spirits of other kids.