Chugiak football team makes one of its own just one of the guys
Kaleb McDonald is due for a good break. Goodness knows he's had his share of bad ones. The Chugiak High School freshman is fighting Batten disease. It causes blindness but also a progressive loss of ones' motor skills. But he still wanted to get on the football field.
"His dad approached me a few weeks ago. And he said he had gone blind before he could really play football but he had always loved it, wanted to play it," said Chugiak's Head Coach Roger Spackman. "He'd done a little bit of flag football when he was a little kid, and we really wanted to give him a chance to get the pads on and run around a little bit."
So at practice, he did. He took the handoff, and with some guidance, he headed for the end zone where he was mobbed by his teammates.
But that was in practice. The next night he walked out onto the field with the Mustangs--as a team captain for their game with Kenai.
It was a moment of victory for Kaleb and his mother.
"That was amazing. It was a blessing. He's always loved football and he's not been able to play now for a few years." said Melissa McDonald.
Kaleb has difficulty speaking but can communicate with a nod and hum and knows what's happening.
An active member of Navy JROTC and basketball, he's added football to the list.
Sadly, the prognosis is uncertain. Many who suffer from Batten disease don't make it to their late 20s. But, this was all about living.
"Did you have fun?" asked Melissa.
"Mmmm," replied Kaleb shaking his head happily.
"When you get a diagnosis like he's gotten, and you see things taken from your kids, it's a blessing to see people rally around him and pull him in and include him," said Melissa. "It's really heartwarming. It's really sweet, yeah."
So the Mustangs rallied.
The McDonald family is due that touchdown and so much more.