Ben Abercrombie.

Ben Abercrombie ’21 at a 2018 Harvard-Yale football game.

Jon Chase/Harvard file photo

Campus & Community

Going the extra mile — or 3.2 of them — for Abercrombie

3 min read

Fundraising walk/run supports injured student athlete

The 3.2 for Ben virtual walk-race is inviting the Harvard community to lace up their shoes and rally around one of their own.

The virtual event, scheduled for Saturday through Nov. 22, is raising funds in honor of undergrad Ben Abercrombie, who suffered life-changing paralysis in his first game for the Crimson football team in September 2017.

Participants can sign up to walk or run 3.2 miles to show their support of the Alabama native nicknamed “Badgercrombie,” who wore number 32. All proceeds go to the Harvard Varsity Club’s Benson M. Abercrombie ’21 Fund.

“It’s a great way to keep the tradition going, given the circumstances,” said former teammate Raishaun McGhee ’17. McGhee organized the walk/run and created the annual Bowl for Ben that also donates all proceeds to the Abercrombie Fund.

“Everybody on the team, as soon as you step on the field or in that locker room, you become a member of the family whether you’re a freshman or senior, sophomore. It doesn’t matter what year,” McGhee said. “He is a part of the family.”

After completing their run or walk, participants will post their time online. Everyone who signs up receives a personalized bib and finisher medal. To date the fund has raised more than $600,000 and has paid for a number of medical costs not covered by Abercrombie’s insurance, ranging from a customized van and wheelchair to rehabilitation sessions and flights for treatments and doctors’ appointments. Other fundraising events have included El Jefe’s Taqueria’s annual Ben Abercrombie Day in Harvard Square. (Due to the pandemic, this year’s event was rescheduled to the spring.)

In the fall of 2019, Abercrombie returned to Harvard as a student. Because of the pandemic, he has been learning from home this year. He’s taking two courses and has been doing rehab from home with a trainer.

“I still work out on my exercise bike three times a week while making sure I complete my schoolwork in between,” Abercrombie said. “The main downside is not being on campus where you can actually be in a real classroom and interact with professors and other students.”

Abercrombie’s message to them, to anyone who takes part, and especially to his former teammate McGhee: “Thank you.”

“It means a lot to me and my family,” he said. “The benefits will help us pay for equipment, supplies, and technology I need for rehab, School, and other things to keep me healthy, further my path to graduation, and my path to healing.”

Register for 3.2 for Ben. The event starts Saturday. The last day to register and post times is Nov. 22.