5k run will help pay Dover man’s medical bills


Ben Knapp enjoys last year’s 5K run-walk at Campus Community School with friends Ellie Knapp, Michelle Cote, Jordan Amado and Lizzie Ward. (Submitted photo/Michelle Cote)

Ben Knapp enjoys last year’s 5K run-walk at Campus Community School with friends Ellie Knapp, Michelle Cote, Jordan Amado and Lizzie Ward. (Submitted photo/Michelle Cote)

DOVER — Organizer Lisa Weis put it nicely when describing what’s important in the Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, May 9 to benefit Ben Knapp’s medical fund.

“Coming to the race is all about showing support for Ben and cheering for him,” Ms. Weis said. “It’s a great reason to run, and it’s going to continue until he can run in it.”

Since suffering a hypoxic brain injury on Oct. 21, 2011, the 20-year-old Dover resident Mr. Knapp has been without life elements that most take for granted — the ability to see and walk on his own, the opportunity to speak with others.

In the last three-plus years, Mr. Knapp has traveled north to A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington to engage in intensive therapy and rehabilitation designed to regain as many functions as he can.

The medical bills have mounted; the community continues to contribute in personal and fundraising ways, and the Campus Community 3.1-mile run-walk will add to the support.

This is the third straight year that Campus Community School has held the fundraiser for Mr. Knapp, who previously attended the school before moving on to Dover High. The interest is immense, considering the 250 participants last year and the expected 300 or so in 2015.

“When this happened to Ben, it was a pretty easy choice,” Ms. Weis said.

Still interacting with Mr. Knapp, Ms. Weis sees a person who is “upbeat and positive, someone who always wants the best for people.”

Assisting significantly in the rehabilitation process, Michelle Cote wanted to make sure her feelings about Ben were known.

“Ben is an incredible person,” she said. “I have never met anyone with more heart, determination and spirit.

“When you meet him, you are forever changed and you realize how lucky you are to know him. Most of us cannot imagine our lives without him in it and we feel blessed to be on the journey of his recovery.”

Dad Chip Knapp said his son communicates with his laugh and jokes through smiles, vocalization and hand squeezes.

“He understands everything and is still the same Ben on the inside,” Chip said.

Ben has made progress physically, his dad said, and he’s working on walking and standing on his own. The family is looking at options to transition out of the children’s hospital into another advanced rehabilitation facility.

“He’s quite motivated to doing everything he can do,” Chip said. “We’re looking at possibly expanding his rehabilitation, looking in to studies and new technology. We’re investigating everything.”

Ben has earned enough credits to graduate from Dover High, and is looking into taking an upcoming college class.

The 5K event in his behalf will suit Ben well personally, his dad said.

“It’s a special treat and he really enjoys it,” Chip said. “Family comes from Ohio and we make a day of it. It’s an uplifting feeling for him.”

Run, walk for Ben

Wha03dsn Ben Knapp 5K1t: Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk

Why: Benefits Ben Knapp’s medical fund

When: Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m., rain or shine. Kiddie K starts at 9:55 a.m.

Where: Campus Community School, 350 Pear Street, Dover

Course: Run/walk is a flat double loop course around the residential are near Campus Community School.

Registration: $25 for adults, $10 for students, free Kiddie K for kids 10 and under.

Checks can be made payable to Campus Community School and mailed to TriSports Events, 2772 Hazletteville Road, Dover, De. 19904.

Contact: Ray at 674-3213 or e-mail Races4u@TriSportsEvents.com, Register online at TriSportsEvents.com.

Awards: Unique awards for overall male, female, and master’s winners. Top 3 male/female runners in 10 year age groups starting with 14 and under thru 70 and over. 5K walk awards to top 3 male/female finishers. Medals to all Kiddie K finishers. Results and photos will be posted at TriSportsEvents.com.

Amenities: Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk to all participants. Registration will take place in the school cafeteria. Carnival with kids games and activities. E-mail Eileen Guerke at eguerke@gmail.com for more information.

Finish line: Event management provided by TriSports Events Management and volunteers.

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