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Author Topic: 'Miracle baby' lifts BFA-Fairfax football team  (Read 2329 times)
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« on: November 10, 2012, 07:32:45 AM »

This story appeared in the Saturday, November 10, 2012 issue of The Burlington Free Press - Credit goes to Glenn Russell for the photo and Alex Abrami, Free Press Staff Writer for writing the article.

Miracle baby' lifts BFA-Fairfax football team

BFA-Fairfax quarterback Chad Aiken with his sister Kaya, who was born with Down Syndrome and overcame serious issues. / GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS
Written by
Alex Abrami
Free Press Staff Writer

Today’s football championship schedule

• Division II: No. 1 Rice (10-0) vs. No. 2 Bellows Falls (9-1), 11 a.m.
• Division III: No. 1 Woodstock (10-0) vs. No. 2 BFA-Fairfax (9-1), 2 p.m.
• Division I: No. 1 Hartford (10-0) vs. No. 2 BFA-St. Albans (9-1), 5 p.m.
Radio: All the games can be heard on 101.3 WCPV-FM and the Division I contest will also be broadcast on WRSA-AM 1420 and WCAT-AM 1390.
Web video: Visit www.nsnsports.net.

Today’s championship live blog

• Follow the action of today’s three title games with Free Press’ football championship live blog. From score updates to general thoughts and questions, join the discussion starting with the 11 a.m. game at blogs.burlingtonfreepress.com/varsity/
FAIRFAX — As the starting quarterback for the BFA-Fairfax football team, Chad Aiken is prepared to lead the program into its first finals appearance today.

Aiken and a balanced Bullets’ running attack are tasked with trying to upset defending-champion and top-seeded Woodstock in the Division III state championship at 2 p.m., the second of a title-game tripleheader at
South Burlington High School.

On paper, it’s a challenge that might prove daunting: The unbeaten Wasps have rolled up 507 points in 10 games, including a 54-19 triumph over the Bullets in the season opener. Then again, after the adversity Aiken’s family endured this fall, anything seems possible.

'The lucky ones'

Born with a series of medical complications on Sept. 4, Aiken’s baby sister, Kaya, went through a month of treatment in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital in Boston and survived three surgical procedures stemming from heart, breathing and intestinal concerns.

“She’s a miracle baby. She would not have survived had she not gone down to Boston,” said Rob Aiken, the father. “We are fortunate. We are one of the lucky ones. You look at this and it’s an amazing story.”
Added Rob’s wife, Penny: “She’s a gift from God. We are just very thankful.”

Also diagnosed with Down syndrome, Kaya has been a source of inspiration for Chad during his senior season.

“There have been some moments I was worried for her,” Chad said. “But I sort of had a feeling she was going to be all right. I just kept thinking that.”

While Rob and Penny knew it was a “high-risk pregnancy,” with their sixth child, the Jeffersonville couple were ready to face whatever crossed their paths.

“I think it makes you appreciate life and how fragile it is,” said Penny, who was rushed from Fletcher Allen Health Care to Boston after a four-hour ambulance ride to give birth.

Parallels from football

Football has connected the Aiken family to the Fairfax program. Rob coached Chad and a handful of his teammates in the Patriots Youth Football League program during grade-school days. And once Kaya was healthy enough to return to Vermont, the family brought her to Chad’s games, including a road trip to Windsor where the Bullets claimed the win.

The team also pitched in with gas cards as the Aikens made the commute between Vermont and Boston to see Penny and Kaya.

“The football team has been very supportive,” Penny said. “We had Chad hold her after the Windsor game and all of his teammates wanted to be in the picture. It was really cute.”

In fact, since Kaya’s birth, Fairfax hasn’t lost, putting together a nine-game winning streak to seize the No. 2 seed and earn the program’s first finals appearance in its sixth varsity season.

“This parallels football. It teaches you so many things in real-life challenges,” Rob said. “That’s why you love football. You get up, dust yourself off and get ready for the next play.

“It’s the same thing with Kaya. She’s a fighter.”

Contact Alex Abrami at 660-1848 or aabrami@burlingtonfreepress.com. Follow Abrami on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aabrami5.

Henry Raymond
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2012, 09:53:39 AM »

Henry        Wonderful article . Thanks for posting . Good luck to the Bullets today !!! Congrats also to the Aiken family for their great daily attitudes on life and their future.
Rev. Elizabeth
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 11:11:51 AM »

It was a very moving article, and she is a very special baby, indeed!
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