Sweetwater toddler born premature now has rising acting career

SWEETWATER (WATE) – A Monroe County toddler is defying odds three years after being born premature.

Bentley Raper’s parents say they didn’t know if he would make it after being born two months early, but now he’s off to a successful acting career.

Bentley Raper
Bentley Raper

“Personality, personality, personality,” his mom Kendra Raper says, describing him.

WATE 6 On Your Side first met Bentley in 2013 for a story about premature babies.

“We didn’t have any pre-conditions. We had no idea that he was even coming early. It was very scary. They told me when I was in labor and I will never forget that he probably wouldn’t be breathing and that he may not even make it,” Raper said.

Bentley spent nine days in the NICU, but now he’s as healthy as can be. He has a rising career as a runway model, and he’s appearing in upcoming Dollywood commercials and three national TV shows.

Bentley spent nine days in the NICU, but now he's as healthy as can be.
Bentley spent nine days in the NICU, but now he’s as healthy as can be.

“We give my mom the credit for the shining on TV and doing so well with the pictures because when he was in the NICU she had taken over 1,000 pictures of him on her personal camera because she was just so excited that he was here,” Raper said. “We thank God for him every day. Every little thing he does is always just a big thing to us because we didn’t even think he would even ever walk, so we’re proud of him, then to see him walk down a runway is just amazing.”

Raper says Bentley will be appearing in the crime shows “Snapped”, “Murder Comes to Town” and “Homicide Hunters” starting in November. His work with Dollywood is set to be shown next summer.

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