WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A local high school is helping a student with a medical condition realize their dream to play sports.
West Hartford’s Evan St Amand has a contagious smile and friendly demeanor. He’s become quite the golfer.
“I’ve learned one of the most crucial things in life is to have a positive attitude,” St Amand said. “If you walk around sulking about what’s happened, you don’t really get the full experience of life.”
On the surface, you’d have no idea he struggles daily with mitochondrial disease — when your body cannot efficiently turn sugar and oxygen into energy — so his cells do not work correctly. He spends about 14 hours a day hooked-up to machines and can’t eat solid food. Hot weather is particularly challenging.
The fact that he’s outside golfing is a huge victory.
“I didn’t know I could do sports because of everything I had,” St Amand said.
His first sporting experience came as a senior at Hall High School in West Hartford. He was cleared to play alongside the golf team under the leadership of Coach Chuck Claffey — learning the craft and cheering them on.
“We made him the manager of the team, so he could be here at all the events, take all the kids’ scores at the end, and you can see he makes everyone smile,” Coach Claffey said.
That positivity is why he was chosen to be Connecticut’s honoree for the Michael H. Savage “Spirit of Sport” award — an award recognizing those who exemplify the ideals of the positive spirit of sport.
“He made it special for every single kid,” Coach Claffey said. “For that, I’m thankful.”
Hall High gave him an opportunity that to him, meant more than anyone could understand.
“Even though I wasn’t out there playing, I was still treated as part of the team and like a brother, and that really meant so much, having gotten that true, authentic, high school sport feeling,” St Amand said.