Run/walk to support Dover’s Knapp set for Saturday

Ben Knapp gets his picture taken with his father, Wesley College head football coach Chip Knapp. (Delaware State News file photo)

DOVER – Ben Knapp is a magnet for Campus Community School students.

Once or twice a week, first-graders flock to him during 30-minute visits. They read letters, self-authored children’s stories and books to him and he answers “yes” and “no” questions with hand squeezes.

Rehabilitation from a 2011 brain injury continues, and wheelchair-bound 24-year-old Ben maintains a busy schedule. On Saturday morning, he’ll attend the Cougars for a Cause 5K Run/Walk that benefits his medical fund. The family is especially focused on finding a communications device that will easier allow Ben to express himself.

“Ben is doing well,” his mother Cindy said. “He still has a positive attitude and still has a smile on his face and is determined to keep improving and get better.”

Ben’s community impact is also chronicled in a recently posted two minute YouTube video.

Dozens of runners of all ages and speeds will fill the field for the event that begins at 9 a.m. rain or shine at 350 Pear St. A free Kiddie K starts the fundraiser at 8:50 a.m.

The 5K “uplifts Ben,” Cindy said.

“It motivates him to stay positive and reminds our family that we’re not alone. The support and love makes us feel great. It’s just an amazing day.”

Ben contributes greatly to his former school as well. The young Campus students are “absolutely thrilled when they’re on the playground and see him arrive,” first-grade teacher Patti Sandy said.

“They all want to be with him. He’s a superhero to them and they see him as part of the class. They see him as special.”

At a recent American Heart Association fundraiser, Ben took his wheelchair for a trip around Dover Skating Center, trailed by a significant portion of the 200 students on the field trip. It was a fantastic moment of accomplishment, considering that he’s blind and has limited muscle control.

Students learn lessons when Ben attends the Campus Community School he attended from first to eighth grade before graduating from Dover High.

“This is teaching the kids how to respond to someone who might be different,” Ms. Sandy said. “They learn that everyone is important, everyone has value.”

Ben currently attends Wesley College, taking two classes per semester while earning straight As in his Liberal Arts major with a concentration in music, history and psychology.

Saturday registration for the 5K is $25, and begins at 8 a.m. Checks are payable to the Ben Knapp Medical Fund and can be mailed to 2772 Hazlettville Road, Dover, DE 19904.

Online registration is available online at For more information, call 674-3213 or email

Participants receive a T-shirt and awards are given to top finishers in several categories. Post-race festivities includes free food and beverages.

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