For immediate release
Copp Family’s Experience with Little League Challenger Division® Shines on HGTV’s Fixer Upper
Melissa and Jody Copp share the joy and opportunities that the Lake Air Little League Challenger Program has provided to their family.
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA. (March 22, 2018) – Tim Tebow, Chip and Joanna Gaines, and a whole lot of support from the community. That’s what the Copp family from Waco, Texas, has experienced after starring on the HGTV show Fixer Upper that aired in January.
“We’ve had the dream of wanting an accessible home for our boys for about 10 years now,” said Melissa Copp. “What I wanted as a parent was to give my sons a house that is 100 percent wheelchair accessible so they could be who they are, and we wouldn’t settle for anything less.”
After almost 10 years of determination, that dream finally came true when Chip and Joanna Gaines reached out to the family along with Tim Tebow and the Tebow Foundation to build the Copp family their dream home as part of the Fixer Upper special, “Touchdown for a Family in Need.” Jody and Melissa Copp are parents to two boys, Calan (9) and Lawson (5), who were born with an extremely life-threatening condition that hinders their ability to stand and walk on their own, causing them to rely on wheelchairs for their mobility.
“One of our biggest hopes [on the show] was to show the need for accessibility and show how small changes can make huge differences,” said Jody Copp. “It really has given us a platform to be able to discuss it and get people thinking.”
Thanks to the dedicated work by the Gaines family, Tim Tebow, and a group of excited volunteers, the Copp family’s new home now allows their two sons the opportunity to be themselves and enjoy all of the features built especially for them.
Calan and Lawson are members of the Lake Air Little League Challenger Division, which provides unique opportunities for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges to experience the game of baseball and the involvement in that program gives both Calan and Lawson a place where they can let out their true competitive spirit.
“One of the things that we have noticed is how quickly someone falls in love with the program when they see it for the first time,” said Mr. Copp. “For me, as a coach, it’s really special because I get to be out there with both of my sons and play with them. I get to try to teach them a little bit about baseball, but mainly just to let them have fun and teach the importance of getting out and having the experience that we all should have.”
For everyone in the Copp family, being involved in the Little League Challenger Division has been a blessing not only for Calan and Lawson, but for the entire family, as it has brought each of them closer together.
“It really is a great way for Calan and Lawson to bond and I love that it does that for a lot of siblings out there,” said Mrs. Copp. “The Challenger program allows our sons to experience things they never thought they would and allows all of the kids’ personalities to shine through.”
A very active family, Mr. and Mrs. Copp have tried a variety of adaptive programs to get their sons involved in, but Little League has always been the one that has truly made a difference in their lives.
“Little League has brought us closer together as a family because we found something that we can all be together with,” said Mr. Copp. “Challenger Baseball was the first thing that really brought us all together and that’s why it holds such a special place in our heart.”
Months after the airing of their special moment on Fixer Upper, the Copp Family continues to share their excitement that this opportunity has provided for their family, and are truly proud and thankful for everyone that was involved in helping their dreams come true.
“Thank you to everyone for letting us be the family we were meant to be,” said Mrs. Copp. “We never gave up on our dream on allowing our sons to have a home that is accessible to them and one that they can just be kids. We’re experiencing things for the first time with our family now and everyone who has supported us has allowed us to become stronger and we are forever grateful.”
About the Little League Challenger Division®
The Little League Challenger Division® was founded in 1989, and is Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges. Any individual with a physical or intellectual challenge may participate. If an individual can participate in the traditional Little League Baseball or Softball program with reasonable accommodations they should do so. The Little League Challenger Division accommodates players ages 4 to 18; or up to age 22 if still enrolled in school. The Senior League Challenger Division accommodates players ages 15 and above (no maximum age). For more information, including how to find a league near you, visit LittleLeague.org/Challenger.
About Little League®
Founded in 1939, Little League® Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.4 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and more than 80 other countries. During its nearly 80 years of existence, Little League has seen more than 40 million honored graduates, including public officials, professional athletes, award-winning artists, and a variety of other influential members of society. Each year, millions of people follow the hard work, dedication, and sportsmanship that Little Leaguers® display at our seven baseball and softball World Series events, the premier tournaments in youth sports. For more information, visit LittleLeague.org, and follow Little League on Facebook (facebook.com/LittleLeague), Twitter (twitter.com/LittleLeague), and Instagram (Instagram.com/LittleLeague).
For more information contact:
Kevin Fountain, Director of Media Relations, Little League Baseball & Softball
E-mail: kfountain@LittleLeague.org ; Website: LittleLeague.org
Office: 570-326-1921, ext. 2325; Cell: 570-295-7728