Ezra Frech, a disabled child athlete who has been featured on Good Morning America and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, spoke to a crowd of nearly 200 Pacific Union College students, faculty, and community members on Monday, February 23. Frech shared his approach to life and the challenges he has faced in his 11 years of living with a disability.
The event began with a presentation by the Pacific Union College men’s and women’s basketball teams. The players highlighted the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ values and what it means to be “Champions of Character” (PUC’s varsity teams play in the NAIA’s California Pacific Conference). Fabio Maia, coordinator of Service, Justice and Missions for Pacific Union College, then introduced Frech. Maia met Ezra’s parents through the Challenged Athletes Foundation, an organization that provides opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.
Following Frech’s presentation, the PUC Pioneers played an exhibition basketball game with Team Ezra, made up of Ezra and four local elementary students. The outsized Team Ezra played well, with Ezra making a layup just before time expired to give Team Ezra the victory.
After the game, Frech took pictures with the PUC Pioneers and fans. Frech, who received his first prosthetic leg at 11 months old, encouraged others through words and actions to live beyond their circumstances and find success in the face of challenge. “I hope you are all able to overcome your own challenges,” said Ezra. “As I like to say, make it happen!”