GFA 2018 Charles T. Kuntzleman Accepting the Challenge Award

Meet the Nominees

 

View this year's award winners

 

Kyle Dedert

Kyle DedertThe odds are 1 in 100,000 that a person will develop Ollier’s Disease, a disorder characterized by bone deformities, shortening of the limbs, and fractures. By the tender age of 1, Kyle Dedert became that 1 in 100,000. Undergoing corrective procedures for broken bones caused by the disorder, Kyle also had the front of his left foot removed and wears a prosthetic. Where others might find this a setback to adopt an active lifestyle, Kyle didn’t and excels in basketball, swimming and water polo.

In keeping with his #1 status, Kyle is also the captain of his unbeaten junior varsity water polo team at Rockford High School, and excels academically. Kyle says humbly that he is inspired by his family, friends and his faith. With the quote “all limitations are self-imposed” inscribed on his prosthetic, Kyle embodies the underlying philosophy of setting higher standards for oneself.

 

Eric Westover

An off-road crash changed Eric’s life, but the story of his recovery is inspiring others. Eric was riding a dirt bike in July of 2015 near Silver Lake State Park when a Jeep came out of nowhere and he crashed. He lost consciousness while being air-lifted to the Spectrum Health's trauma center in Grand Rapids. Eric was transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital for therapy three weeks later. He eventually underwent a total 15 surgeries.

His right leg was amputated above the knee, and his left leg was amputated below the knee. He also was relatively young, at age 37, and had a healthy appetite for exercise, as a former high school athlete for Mona Shores High School.

Mary Free Bed Physical Therapists try to challenge their patients but said Westover exceeded many of goals they set.

Westover has been able to inspire others in their medical journeys. He also participated in a mentor program, helping another recent amputee get motivated for grueling therapy.

 

Ethan Whitcomb

Ethan WhitcombEthan Whitcomb came into the world early, without the radius in his right arm, without a thumb, and without one kidney. While some are born and carry on in life thinking about what they don’t have, Ethan decided to focus on what he does have; he has one kidney, he has one thumb, he has a left arm that works well…and he has a deep love for baseball. No matter the day, he could be found practicing and playing on the ballfields in South Lyon. From this, Ethan learned how to tune into his body to better understand the movement, physical strength and fitness required to play. When he threw a no hitter against Northville, their legendary rivals, it was clear his focus and pitching prowess was special, especially when the college scholarship offers started rolling in.

With determination, the support of his family, friends and community, this left-handed pitcher is managing a busy academic and athletic schedule at Madonna University.