Last week, one of our own local legends at Pathways, Dylan Batz, was recognized by several other Denver legends at the John Lynch Foundation Salute the Stars luncheon. John Lynch joined Broncos General Manager John Elway and new head coach Vance Joseph to honor a handful of student-athletes in the Denver area. Each year the foundation presents scholarships to high school students based on academic performance, athletic accomplishments, community involvement, and leadership.
In partnership with the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, the John Lynch Foundation also presents 4 “Exceptional Star of the Year” awards for student-athletes with disabilities. Dylan Batz was one of the 4 to receive the award in 2017. This award is just the latest testament to Dylan’s dedication to becoming a leader in health and fitness.
Dylan’s Story: Facing Challenges Early
If you’ve been around Developmental Pathways or the SUN Foundation for very long, you’ve probably heard Dylan’s name. He was honored at the 2016 Shining Stars Celebration for his achievement in athletics. As with most great success stories, Dylan has overcome significant challenges to be where he is now.
Dylan began having seizures at birth and, in 8th grade, one left him with a shunt in his brain and his body in a wheelchair. As a result, he began relearning how to walk and talk. As his peers prepared for high school, Dylan worked to regain function in his body. However, since his recovery, Dylan has been all but impossible to keep up with.
The Making of an Athlete
Once in high school, Dylan proved himself a multi-talented athlete. A runner, basketball player, and skiier, he was named Physical Education Student of the Year for his high school in 2011. These days he doesn’t settle for average high school competition. Instead, he prefers to test his skills against more advanced athletes in half and full marathons. In 2016, Dylan completed the Georgetown to Idaho Springs half marathon in Idaho in 1:34:39. That feat ranked him 93rd place out of more than 1,100 men in the race. This weekend he’ll be joining more than 60 DP staff members at the Colfax Marathon. He’s only running the half, though, because two marathons this month might be a little much.
Dylan’s athletic success isn’t confined to his own achievements. He also participates in the Highpointe Day Program with funding from Developmental Pathways, leading workouts twice a week for people of all ages and abilities. Somehow, he manages to find time to lead a walking group for DP staff once a week in the summer as well.
His motto is “Don’t let your disability get in the way of your dreams. You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.”
Dylan’s motto is reinforced in the multitude of achievements he’s recorded in just 18 years. As a John Lynch Foundation Exceptional Star, Dylan will receive a $5,000 scholarship towards his future plans which include becoming a personal trainer and perhaps trying a triathlon or two.
Thank you to the John Lynch Foundation and Sponsors!
Thank you to the John Lynch Foundation and their supporters at Fourpoint Energy, the Reiman Foundation, and Les Schwab Tires for putting on this event and contributing to the dreams of incredible young people like Dylan!