Local entertainers take stage for new father battling cancer

Street Stories
street stories beats for ben_198975

PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — A weekend concert dubbed Beats for Ben will make you laugh and smile, but the back story is much more somber.

Attorney Ben Mesiti knows how to win a room, as he displayed during a videotaped proposal to his wife several months into his battle with kidney cancer. The diagnosis about a year ago was a shocker to many, including his law partner Terry McEnaney.

“The doctors said if you were planning to have children, you probably should try before this and viola’. This miracle baby arrived,” McEnaney said with a wide smile.

The miracle is Arabella, who at a month old, has no idea she’s an absolute inspiration to her daddy, mommy and their friends.

“Anyone who’s a parent knows children motivate you to do anything,” McEnaney said. “In this case, for Ben, she’s a reason to live and a reason to keep fighting to live.”

Judges, prosecutors and defendants are used to seeing McEnaney this serious, but the rest of the country knows him as Italian rapper Bobby Braciola. And in the music video Chooch to Gooch, 165,000 people have seen Ben Mesiti as Guido Linguine, the spoofed up “spaccone” in the drivers seat of a car carrying a group of friends.

Their humor is a long way from the current, difficult reality that the Mesiti family faces. But Ben’s history of helping others is one reason musicians and comedians are coming together to help him in Beats for Ben, an eight act show at the restaurant Ciara in Johnston.

“Almost everyone performing has been touched by Ben. Either him producing their work. Using his studio. Or representing him in court,” McEnaney said.

Beats for Ben will raise money for kidney cancer research and help cover some of the medical treatment costs. McEnaney said while his partner’s battle is difficult, there’s plenty of hope.

“I just stay faithful, he said. “I love the guy and I believe in him. He believes in his doctors, and his friends and family just won’t let him give up. He’s a fighter.”

The event is almost sold out but the effort to raise money for Ben and kidney cancer research will continue as he fights the disease.

Send your story ideas to Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

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