BY SAMANTHA MACK One year ago, on February 17, Andrea Knapp did something very few young women are brave enough to do. She gave her dad one of her kidneys. “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her. I gave her life, and ironically, she gave me life,” said John Knapp, Andrea’s proud father. John, 56, has type 2 diabetes. He has neuropathy, which means that his feet are often numb. He lost both his kidneys. “Diabetes is terrible. It eats people alive,” John said. “I thought I was pretty healthy and didn’t go to the doctor for about five years. Then my vision became blurry and the damage was already done.” John has had multiple eye surgeries and has a cataract in his left eye. “Take diabetes very, very seriously. I am an example of what type 2 diabetes can do. Diet. Exercise. Lose weight. Don’t drink pop,” John said. “My older brother lost his leg to diabetes, and we’re the only two in our family to have diabetes.” John had to go on dialysis, which is basically an artificial kidney machine. It takes the toxins out of one’s body, which is necessary for life. At first he went to a clinic three times a week to have it done, but it wasn’t enough. He grew ill. Then his wife Debbie took his health into her own hands. Debbie fulfilled the necessary training to perform in-home dialysis. In addition to her regular job, she ran dialysis for John six days per week for four and a half years. “Debbie is the soul of me being where I’m at,” John said. In 2013, Andrea worked at Family Fare Pharmacy. She told a co-worker, Kim, about her dad’s predicament. When John came in with a prescription to fill, Kim said to him, “I’m going to donate my kidney to you.” “She stepped forward,” John said. “She was basically a stranger. I had seen her in the pharmacy for about a year and Andrea had worked with her, but I was surprised. I finally felt that I had a second chance at life.” Unfortunately, circumstances arose that prevented Kim from giving one of her kidneys to John. “There weren’t, and there still aren’t, enough words […]
After finishing fifth during the dual meet portion of the season, Rockford and the five other members of the OK Red convened at East Kentwood on Friday, February 5th for the conference meet. Rockford came out of that event in fourth place behind Grand Haven, Grandville and West Ottawa. The Rams also placed nine wrestlers out of the 14 weight classes contested. “We had several very pleasant surprises and a few minor disappointments,” said Rockford coach Brian Richardson. “I was pleased overall though that we improved on our finish from the dual meet segment and also thought the kids really competed hard. Senior 119-pounder Jared Bennett was the sole champion for the Rams. There were also a trio of second-place showings with Zach Hill at 215 pounds, Mitch Webb (145) and Andy Hansen at 125 pounds. Hansen lost an 11-7 match against one of the top wrestlers in the state from Grand Haven (Cam Bertucci). – “I thought Andy really showed what he was capable of tonight,” said Richardson. “He fell behind 7-1 after the first period but just kept battling to get back into the match.” Chris Bell and Caleb Childers finished third in back to back weight classes (160,171) for the Rams. Childers returned after missing a few weeks due to an injury. The only loss he suffered on the day was a one-point defeat to the eventual champion at 171 pounds. Rounding out the Ram placers were Austin Spiegel (103), Robbie Thebo (285) and Nick Guerra at 152 pounds. All three ended up in fourth-place. The Rams wrestled their final OK Red dual of the season at home against West Ottawa on Tuesday, February 3rd. It was a slugfest from start to finish but when the dust had settled it was a 29-27 loss for Rockford. The Rams got pins from Jackson Carey, Webb, Tyler Glave and Bennett. Andy Hansen also won by decision at 130 for the final Ram points of the night. Rockford battled back from a 25-12 deficit to take a 27-25 lead into the final match. This week is chock full of events as the Rams will compete in team districts at Forest Hills Central on Wednesday, February 11th. Rockford drew a bye and will face the winner […]
It may have seemed like forever but in reality it was just a few short weeks for the Rockford wrestling team to claim their first win of the OK Red season at home by a score of 58-12 over East Kentwood on Wednesday, January 28th. The Rams won eight matches via pin as well as a major decision and a pair of decisions in cruising to the victory. “It has been a pretty tough month for the team in January,” said Rockford coach Brian Richardson. “We have a very young squad that has worked extremely hard all year long and it is nice to see their efforts rewarded tonight.” Austin Spiegel got things off to a solid start for Rockford when he posted a 6-1 victory over an opponent who had topped him earlier this season. Jared Bennett then continued what has been a very solid senior season for himself when he posted a 10-3 decision for Rockford at 125 pounds. From that point forward it was a parade of bonus points for the Rams (especially when it got to the final seven weight classes where Rockford recorded seven straight pins). Andy Hansen stuck his opponent in 17 seconds at 130 and Chris Bell was only slightly behind when he recorded a pin in 20 seconds at 171 pounds. Other Rams who recorded pins were John Quist at 140 with a pin in 5:08. Nick Guerra (152) with a pin in 5:21, Khale Showers with a pin at 160 in 2:17, Tyler Glave at 189 who pinned his opponent in 1:57, Robbie Thebo wrestling at 215 at 1:32 and last and certainly not least was Zach Hill at 285 who recorded his pin in 5:02. The Rams will close out the OK Red dual meet season by hosting West Ottawa on Tuesday, February 3rd (too late for press). They will then venture to East Kentwood for the OK Red conference meet on Friday, February 6th.
The week of January 26 saw the Rockford Rams Varsity Hockey club facing two league opponents on the road. On Wednesday, Rockford dropped a 4-1 contest against Grand Rapids Catholic Central at Southside Ice Arena. Rockford rebounded on Friday with a 3-2 victory over East Grand Rapids at Patterson Ice Center. In the Wednesday contest, Catholic Central jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening period. The Rams made it interesting early in the second period as Jacob McNamara cut the lead in half with Rockford’s lone goal of the game (assisted by Tanner Vesche). CC responded with two goals of their own in the middle period. No goals were netted in the final period. As the final buzzer sounded the scoreboard read Cougars 4, Rams 1. Brendan Coolbaugh was solid in net for the Rams, stopping 41 of 45 shots. Rockford squared off against East Grand Rapids in the Friday affair. And once again the Rams found themselves down 2-0. This time, however, the Rams would mount the comeback. Vesche scored midway through the second period to cut EGR’s lead to 2-1 (unassisted). The Rams dominated play through most of the final period. The effort paid off as Vesche netted the equalizer with 5-1/2 minutes to go in the 3rd (assisted by Jeff Benda) and just 90 seconds later Jarrett Ullrey scored the game winner (with Coolbaugh picking up the rare goalie assist). Rockford killed off an unusual 6-on-3 to end the game and secure the win (two penalties against the Rams resulted in a 5-on-3, combined with the Pioneers pulling their goalie). Coolbaugh recorded the victory for the Rams, stopping 35 of 37 shots in the contest. The Rams are 3-4-0 in league play, 13-4-1 overall. Upcoming games for Rockford include a league tilt against East Kentwood on Wednesday, February 18 at 8pm. On Friday, February 20 the Rams host league rival Forest Hills Central. Puck drop is 8pm. Both games are at Griff’s Ice House. For more information check out the Rams website at RockHockey.org or follow the team on Facebook. Go Rams!
The last few weeks have featured a succession of games that have come down to the final few seconds for the Rockford girl’s basketball team. Last week was deja vu all over again for the team as they won a double overtime thriller over Grandville 56-55 and fell to West Ottawa 61-59 on a basket with just over two seconds remaining. The results left Rockford at 7-6 on the season and at 2-2 in an extremely competitive OK Red. Every single conference game has been a slugfest from stem to stern and the results have borne out that balance. Rockford still has every chance to still come out on top when the final conference game has been played in a few short weeks. The Rams squared off with Grandville at home on Tuesday, January 27th and after jumping out to a 17-14 lead after the opening quarter against the Bulldogs, they hit a dead spot that saw them fall into a 31-23 hole at the half. “We really struggled at both ends of the floor in that quarter,” said Rockford coach Jessica Yonkers. “You have to give a lot of credit to Grandville for how well they played in that quarter too, but we realized that we really needed to step up our efforts at both ends of the floor during the second half if we wanted to come back in the game. I think we did that and were fortunate enough to do just enough to come out on top in a great game for everyone in attendance.” The collective defensive effort from the Rams in the third quarter saw them outscore Grandville 12-5 in those eight minutes to make it a 36-35 Dawg lead heading into what everyone thought was the final quarter. Rockford posted an 11-10 edge in the fourth quarter to send the contest into extra time. The first overtime was a chess match that saw no scoring from either team and set the stage for a frenetic final four minutes in the second OT session. Logan McCane hit the big shot for the Rams as she drained a triple that gave Rockford a four-point lead with just a few seconds left that enabled Rockford to withstand a late triple for […]