5K helps defray medical costs for young Dover resident

Cindy Knapp of Dover, left, and her son Ben arrive at Campus Community School Saturday morning for the Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk. (Delaware State News photos by Dave Chambers)

Cindy Knapp of Dover, left, and her son Ben arrive at Campus Community School Saturday morning for the Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk. (Delaware State News photos by Dave Chambers)

DOVER — How did Ben Knapp feel about Saturday morning’s 5K to defray his medical bills while rehabilitating from a cardiac arrest and hypoxic brain injury more than three years ago?

“Well, honestly, it feels great to have everyone here supporting me,” the often-smiling 20-year-old communicated with hand squeezes spelling out a response to nurse’s aide Katryna Fisk.

The “Cougars for A Cause” 3.1-mile run/walk hosted by Campus Community School attracted 187 participants of all sizes, shapes and ages donating to the Knapp family through sweat and the urge to stay fit. Ben attended CCS and will graduate from Dover High in June.

First to finish was Caesar Rodney High senior Sean Connor, who competed in the mile and half mile at the Henlopen Conference Track and Field Championships roughly 18 hours before, and ran a brisk 19:07 time under gray skies and rising temperatures the next morning.

Cindy Knapp of Dover and her son Ben chat with Wesley College football head coach Mike Drass before the Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk.

Cindy Knapp of Dover and her son Ben chat with Wesley College football head coach Mike Drass before the Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk.

“It’s definitely nice when you do something for someone local and you can see who you are helping,” Connor said after taking a couple minutes to catch his breath and chug some water.

“Plus, my dad has gotten into running and I promised I’d run with him. It’s cool that we can do something together like this.”

First to answer was Wesley College student-athlete Alex Kemp, who responded almost immediately after his football coach Mike Drass contacted players regarding the upcoming 5K and what it represents.

“Coach Drass sent a message and I signed up about a minute later,” said Kemp, a redshirt freshman from Caesar Rodney High who was up to the task by completing the course in 20:49 to finish third overall behind Connor and Zachary Blackwood (20:41).

“It’s great seeing everyone out here showing support for Ben, who is a big part of the program.”

Indeed, Ben was a regular at Wolverines practices and games since his early school years when his dad Chip coached as an assistant in a position he still holds today. Head coach Mike Drass said more than 20 players and coaches participated in this year’s event.

A new mix of players has mostly arrived since Ben’s tragic incident in 2011, and they have been introduced to what10dsn Ben Knapp 5K 003 he still means to the program.

“Most of the guys who were here when it happened in 2011 are no longer here,” Drass said. “For the current players it’s hard for them to grasp the gravity of the situation, and something like this can pull them together and see what’s important about staying involved in helping Ben and his family with their medical bills.”

Following last weekend’s completion of a 10-miler in Philadelphia, Wesley football play-by-play radio announcer Sean Greene continued his 172-day streak of running at least a mile for a cause he is passionate about.

“Ben is such a great kid and to see the struggles going makes it easy to take part in anything that will assist him,” Mr. Greene said. “This is great for him and the family, and it’s a good way to get some exercise at the same time.”

According to Ben’s mom Cindy, “It means so much to have all the community support 3 1/2 years out. It’s a tremendous help to us and motivates Ben to work hard in therapy.”

The financial support is crucial to meet costs of 4 trips a week to A.I. duPont Hospital in Wilmington for several hours of therapy, along with expensive equipment designed to help get his legs moving again.

Walkers and runners enjoy the Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk Saturday as they make their way through the streets of Dover.

Walkers and runners enjoy the Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk Saturday as they make their way through the streets of Dover.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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