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Running for Matthew: Killdeer students running to support teammate

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 1:03 PM CDT
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KILLDEER, N.D. - There are many lessons we can learn from sports: from teamwork, to time management, and how to win – and how to lose – with grace.

A group of Killdeer sixth-graders has learned firsthand this cross-country season about the importance of being a good teammate.

Matthew Schaper was diagnosed with mono in July. The 11-year-old has been in and out of the hospital several times since; over the weekend, he was transferred from a Dickinson hospital to a Fargo hospital.

While he’s been sick, Schaper has had to miss cross country.

But now the good news: his teammates haven’t forgotten about their friend; they have dedicated this season to Schaper.

It’s race day for the Killdeer Cowboys. These sixth graders love to run.

“I think it’s fun just to run,” said Weston Bohner, Killdeer sixth grade cross country runner.

“It’s fun,” added his teammate, Isaiah Paul.

“You can stay in shape with it,” said Logan Hardersen.

And they love to race.

“We are all usually in the front,” said Bohner.

They’re not just trying to cross the finish line first, they’re also showing support for their friend Matthew Schaper with every step they take.

“One of our friends got really sick with mono. We felt really bad so we wanted to do something fun for him,” explained Bohner.

That meant getting special shirts for race day.

“We put ‘Running for Matthew’ on the back of our shirts,” said Bohner.

“It might make him feel better and he’ll feel a little happier and proud of himself,” said Holden Hausauer.

Logan Hardersen is working hard to get a ribbon at every race, so he can give them away.

“When I heard Matthew was in the hospital, I decided if I got a ribbon I would give it to him,” said Hardersen.

So far, he’s earned two ribbons for his friend; he hopes to win three more. He’s happy to give them away.

“I’ve got plenty of them,” said Hardersen.

The secret to winning those ribbons:

“Keep fighting through it,” said Bohner.

“You’ll eventually make it to the other side,” added Hausauer.

They hope their friend will do the same and that he might soon be home from the hospital and running again.

Schaper wasn’t feeling up to talking for this story, but he says he’s grateful to his friends, and seeing what they’re doing for him makes him “feel cared for.”

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