“Battle in the Sand” to help boy with Batten Disease

Norfolk, VA - It's the battle of the boot camps in Ocean View to help a brave teen fight a big disease.

This Saturday at 9 a.m. at Ocean View Beach Park, Body by Ken Bootcamp for Women and Body By D Gym will face off in the sand to raise money for Dante Herrera's medical care.

"He's happy, but there are a lot of procedures he has to go through," said Marlo Dean, Dante Herrera's mother.

News 3 began following the Virginia Beach teen's battle with the rare Batten Disease years ago.  The fatal condition slowly attacks the nervous system.

"He's losing his vision," explained Dean.  "He's lost 50 percent of his hearing.  He wears hearing aids to assist with his hearing. He's had several surgeries on both his feet and legs."

Governor Terry McAuliffe certified the month of June Batten Disease Awareness Month in honor of Dante, and recognizes June 1 as Dante Herrera Day.

Personal trainer and boot camp founder Ken Williams befriended Dante and his mother years ago.  He created the competition to help raise money for medical bills.

"If he can go through this, maybe we can come up with something to help him out," said Williams.

The "Battle in the Sand for Dante" is free to attend, but people are welcomed to donate to Dante's cause through the Virginia Beach Jaycees via:

  • PayPal at vbjccommunications@gmail.com with the memo "Hope for Dante"
  • Mail donations to 1112 Jensen Drive Suite 103, Virginia Beach, VA 23451