A Passion to Inspire Others
Lansdale member Ben Hartranft has overcome the obstacles of his autism to become an inspiration for us all. Ben freely gives everyone he meets his smile, his friendliness, and his time.
Ben has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the Y throughout his life, one that continues to grow and develop as he does.
Ben attended preschool at our Lansdale Area branch. He followed that with several years of swim lessons which have helped him to swim safely. He loves the water and swims well. Ben is a graduate of North Penn High School where he was crowned homecoming king his senior year.
Most recently as an adult, he found himself back at the Y because he wanted to become healthier and exercise to lose weight. He prefers doing cardio exercises and the Cybex machines and has lost 11 pounds so far!
Ben particularly enjoys the social aspects of what the Y has to offer. Ben was diagnosed with autism at age 2, and the Y has given him the opportunity to participate in the Special Olympics basketball program for several years with Coach Sean. He also has several friends who attend the Y that he enjoys saying “hi” to and striking up some conversation.
A unique aspect of our Lansdale branch location within North Penn Commons is our partnership with Manna on Main Street. Ben volunteers there frequently to serve meals. He enjoys meeting people in the community and greeting them to make them feel special and “like a rock star!” Ben’s passion and generosity continues throughout the community through his fierce support of Autism Awareness. He has raised over $7,000 in a fundraising initiative, spearheaded by the Philadelphia Eagles. For his outstanding efforts, Ben has been named the Eagles Autism Ambassador and was given the incredible honor of carrying in the Lombardi trophy at the ring ceremony for the team. The Eagles produced a story on his life on their Road to Victory series. Check out his videos!
Ben’s friendliness and energy resonates throughout the Y – as he greets everyone with a warm and welcoming hello. He has made friends with almost every staff member. So, if you see him around the Y, be sure to say “hello”. You are sure to get a warm smile and a kind word or two in return.
At the Y, Ben has the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle, make new friends, and continue to give back to his community.