On Wednesday, April 13, Nellie's Sports Bar will be hosting a benefit for Ben Shallenberger, who was recently diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma, a rare and aggressive cancer.
The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, and Nellie's will be "offering a $1 donation for every Nellie Beer sold" all night.
Shallenberger's work first gained national attention when he won a national video competition in 2008 called "Film Your Issue." That connected him with the Human Rights Campaign, where he is a manager in their media production department.
From the Facebook page set up for the event:
As Ben later explained, "I wrote a poem about the personal struggle with being gay and a Christian. I spoke from the heart about my experiences. The whole thing took under 4 hours, but the effects of it will last forever." You can watch his video.
When the battle for marriage equality was taking place here in the District, Ben offered testimony as a resident of Ward 5 in support of the The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009. In his words: "I’m not even involved in a relationship at this time. To be completely honest, I've never even been on a date. But I do know that someday, I will be ready to commit my life to someone, and I want the opportunity to get married in the eyes of God and the state."
Through his work at the Human Rights Campaign and his time and talents in the field of video editing, Ben's work has been seen by many.
Most recently, Shallenberger told Metro Weekly that he had worked on some of the videos seen at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's annual dinner held on March 19, including the video of Lady Gaga accepting the Randy Shilts Visibility Award. Lady Gaga herself later tweeted her thanks for the award by sharing Metro Weekly's coverage of the award and video.