Dr. Anthony Fauci may have a lot on his plate right now, but he still managed to squeeze in a one-on-one with a young patient.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently caught up with Florida native, Benjamin Ciment. Ciment, now 14, was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was just 8 years old.
The teenager frequently visits the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC to undergo treatments and meetings with doctors.
During their last visit, Benjamin and his mother, Adina Ciment, were looking for something fun to do after all of their usual pre-COVID activities were canceled.
That’s when they decided to ask the nurse about Dr. Fauci.
"We were talking to one of the nurses, and I said, 'Oh, we're in the NIH, I wonder if Dr. Fauci is here,'" Adina recalled to Insider.
"She said, 'He is!' So I said to my son, 'Oh, OK, now we have an activity,” she added.
The nurse suggested sending Fauci’s office an email to request a selfie in the hallway, however, his staff responded that it’s impossible due to social distancing.
Instead, Fauci’s team offered to do a FaceTime call with Benjamin.
"They gave us a time and a phone number and they said 'Call him and they'll talk.' That was just unbelievable. I was not expecting that response,” she said.
Adina and Benjamin worked around his doctor’s appointments to make the exciting chat happen.
"We were at Children's National that day with his oncology team, and I gave them a heads-up that in the middle of the appointment we're going to have to stop because he had a FaceTime appointment with Dr. Fauci," she said. "Kind of a cool thing to drop on the doctors."
Benjamin told the outlet that he tried to keep the conversation with Fauci casual so that he could make the most out of it.
"I was nervous in the beginning, and then I just tried to make it normal," Benjamin said. "I didn't want to be nervous. I was at Comic-Con once and I met someone famous and I was shaking, I didn't know what to do. I was like, 'Hi, can I have your autograph?' and that was it. So I didn't want to do that with him,” he explained.
The conversation, a part which was shared on Facebook, was all encompassing as they talked about Benjamin’s treatment, the coronavirus vaccine, and even dying your hair.
After the conversation, Benjamin called Fauci a “great guy.”
"He's a really nice person," he added. "I thought he would be really uptight, busy doing things, but he took the time out of the day to talk to a patient, and I thought it was really nice."
Adina said that the kind gesture brightened both of their days.
"It really was a moment between Binny and Dr. Fauci," she said. "It wasn't political, there was no ulterior motive, it was really just him reaching out to a kid that's going through treatment and could use a boost, and that's really what he did."