When Tri-Valley junior Kaleb Davis was diagnosed with osteopetrosis eight years ago, many doctors thought he would never live a normal life. The rare bone disease runs in the Davis family, nine out of the 33 members currently have the condition.
The disease causes the bone marrow to fill in different cavities with calcium. The problem is, too much calcium makes our bones very brittle. There are varying degrees of this condition over a lifetime, but Kaleb's is considered to be severe.
At just four months of age, Kaleb developed a lazy eye that was misdiagnosed several times before he underwent a craneotomy to regain vision in his left eye. The scar on his scalp remains, now complimented by Kaleb's new hair trademark: the mohawk.
Kaleb is much like any other 17 year old. He loves hanging out with friends, playing basketball, and cheering on his favorite sports team, in his case, the Cincinnati Reds. But when it comes to his outlook on life, Kaleb's perspective is different than others.
"Many kids would have just stopped or given up, but Kaleb doesn't do that," his mother, Lori Davis said. "He motivates me actually and just his outlook that he doesn't let things stop him."
When Tri-Valley swimming coach Nick Beach approached him about competing in track, Kaleb jumped at the opportunity. With the help of Mick Amicone and The Fieldhouse, Kaleb was set up with a high-tech racing chair. Thanks to an OHSAA ruling last year, handicapped athletes can now compete alongside their able-bodied peers in events.
This Tuesday, Kaleb sprinted his first ever 100 meter dash in front of an applauding audience. He finished the race in 25.2 seconds, but also competes in shot put, with an average throw of around 12 feet.
While he still has a long way to go on the track, Kaleb is appreciative for the opportunity.
"You can't let it hold you down, you just gotta go," he said. "If you let it affect you, you would have no fun ever."