Regis men’s soccer team rallies around coach to support Down syndrome awareness
When Regis’ men’s soccer coach Tony McCall learned shortly after his daughter Kenleigh’s birth that she had Down syndrome, he was, as he put it, knocked from his true north.
“We found out on Christmas Eve. There was a lot of shock and disbelief,” he said. “My wife Jennifer and I woke up the next morning, looked at each other and said, ‘OK. Let’s figure this out. Let’s learn as much as we can.’”
It’s that dedication to education that turned Kenleigh, now 8 years old, into the thriving, bubbly, “wild child” she is today. And it’s that same education and awareness McCall hopes his players pass on as a result of their work helping individuals with Down syndrome. Upon learning about Kenleigh, team members rallied around their coach and his daughter and focused their service work on raising awareness about Down syndrome. Now, the team leads Dare to Play soccer camps for individuals with Down syndrome, helps with the Step Up For Down Syndrome Walk in Denver every year and helps organize the Special Olympics games at Regis.
For senior and center midfielder Davey Hewitt, the work is more than just volunteering.
“Each kid offers up his or her own incredible qualities,” he said. “Working these camps under the guidance of Coach McCall has truly been a blessing.”
That’s music to McCall’s ears, who said he hopes his team’s work makes a difference in how society treats individuals with Down syndrome.
“Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness, and if we all pay it forward to just one person, we can do that,” he said.
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