- Lisa Knodel Contributing Writer
Ten-year-old Chase Church has his sights set on gold.
The Lakota Schools fifth-grader, who has achondroplasia, is preparing for the Dwarfism Olympics in Canada this August.
“Achondroplasia is a bone growth disorder that causes dwarfism; an individual has an average-sized torso but shorter legs and arms and slightly larger head. There are more than 250 types of dwarfism with achondroplasia being the most common,” said Chase’s mother, Tannya.
When Tannya was 32 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound revealed the baby would be born with achondroplasia. Chase arrived early just seven days later on June 30, 2006.
In his 10 years, Chase has undergone numerous medical procedures.
“Achondroplasia has impacted Chase’s life by, first and foremost, getting to know a large group of wonderful people,” Tannya said. “However, with achondroplasia, it has given him many challenges, such as having many doctor visits and more than 12 surgeries, which have included rods in his back. Chase has not been able to compete in a lot of average competitive sports, such as soccer, football, lacrosse, wrestling.”
However, Chase hasn’t allowed these challenges of dwarfism to thwart his athletic endeavors. After competing in a national competition in 2016, he’s turning his attention to preparing for the largest sporting event exclusively for athletes with dwarfism.
Short-statured athletes with dwarfism from across the globe, ages 4-99, will gather in Ontario to participate in the seventh World Dwarf Games.
The Journal-News found out more from Chase, who resides in Liberty Twp., with mother Tannya, father Brian and older sister Alexes.
Q: How have you found a way to be involved in sports?
A: I currently participate in a bowling league at Mason Bowl for three years now. I also play baseball with Miracle League with the Cincinnati Recreation Center that allows all types of disabilities to play ball. I have also been on TopSoccer in Mason that also allows all types of disabilities to play soccer.
Q: What are some highlights of your athletic endeavors to date?
A: I have had many successes, such as playing baseball with the Cincinnati Reds at Reds Fest with Miracle League and playing in individual bowling tournaments with Mason Bowl.
My most exciting success was being able to attend the LPA (Little People of America) National Boston Conference 2016 DAAA (Dwarf Athletic Association of America) Games.
Q: What did you enjoy most about LPA Boston National Conference?
A: The thing I enjoyed most about LPA Boston National Conference of 2016 is I was able to play all types of sports without having limitations and being able to be will all my friends that are round the same size as I am. I also won three gold medals (discus throw, volleyball and basketball) and two silver medals (soccer and football).
Q: Why do you want to participate in this international competition?
A: I would love to participate in the Dwarfism World Olympics in Canada so that I can compete again with the DAAA games but with people all around the world that have dwarfism like me.
Also, so that I can play in all the cool sports, like track and field, volleyball, table tennis, floor hockey and curling.
Q: How will you prepare for the competition between now and August?
A: I plan on preparing for the Olympics by working out, going to the high school track and training.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: My hobbies include bowling, snowboarding, all-around sports, playing video games with my friends, watching videos on YouTube.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about dwarfism?
A: That people with dwarfism just want to live an average life like everyone else and they don’t understand the health concerns or lack of. Also, that the word “midget” is never to be used. It is a very harmful and hurtful word. It’s also harmful when people compare themselves with ones with dwarfism, such as strength, speed and endurance.
I just want people to know that people with dwarfism are just like everyone else in the average height world. We can do everything that you do, just differently, and God loves us all.
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BOWL-A-THON TO RAISE AWARENESS
The Church family is organizing a bowl-a-thon to raise funds for Chase’s Olympic trip. The event will take place March 25 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Eastern Bowling Lanes, 6943 Coles Road, Middletown.
For more information, visit www.gofundme.com/vjx47dck or call 513-382-2913.