Families run for life-saving donors

Wausau Daily Herald | Kevin Uhlig

The Capital City 5k is a lot more than a footrace for the Koppa family; it's a way to honor and remember one of their own, Ben Koppa.

Ben was killed in a car wreck on a Sunday morning nine years ago; the driver of the other vehicle was distracted by a cell phone. The 23-year-old Marathon native had just months earlier graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was embarking on a career as a mechanical engineer. Losing him so suddenly, unexpectedly, crushed his entire family, but no one moreso than his parents and sister.

"He was just an amazing guy. Ben was charismatic, and he always had a great smile. He could light up a room and everybody just loved him," said his sister, Jennifer Koppa, 34, a pharmacist who lives in Wausau. 
Two members of Running to Remember Ben cross the finish line of last year’s Capital City 5k. (Photo: Photo courtesy of National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin)
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