Tammy Isaachsen’s wonder about her son’s prospect of growing up with dwarfism was calmed early on by her son’s unshakable self-assuredness. She worried that young Declan Forcier, not fitting into a world constructed for taller individuals, might struggle. Yet, Declan, now 11, quickly blossomed an intrinsic confidence that put his mother’s worried mind at ease.
It wasn’t long before Declan’s intrepid spirit reflected in his actions. From the age of five, when he gravitated towards baseball, Declan never missed an opportunity to challenge himself. His dedication to learning the intricacies of the game ultimately led his team to victory.
“It’s a thrill, there’s something exciting about it,” Declan said, smiling.
The sense of thrill didn’t stop at the baseball field. He showcased his determination on the hockey rink, proving that his average height competitors couldn’t keep him from scoring goals. Tammy reveled in her son’s ability to adapt, excel, and surpass any expectations she previously held about his future.
Yet, Tammy could not foresee that Declan’s athletic prowess would eventually earn him a berth on Team Canada to compete at the 2023 World Dwarf Games in Germany.
“When I came to know about it, I instantly wanted to participate,” shared Declan.
However, the preparation for the Games posed a significant hurdle. As it turned out, hockey and baseball, Declan’s forte, were not included in the World Dwarf Games. Moreover, being the only athlete from British Columbia, he couldn’t train alongside his 46 other teammates who hailed mostly from central Canada before the global competition.
“I was both anxious and thrilled,” Declan admittedly confessed with a wide grin.
But his anxiety dissipated when he saw all the youth and adult athletes in Germany sharing a similar stature. For the first time, he found himself in an environment where he wasn’t in the minority.
“This feeling of fitting in was a completely new and joyful experience for him,” Tammy remarked.
Declan participated in several individual track and field events before challenging himself in team sports like soccer, volleyball, and baseball.
“Competing with his peers at eye level was an amazing and novel experience,” shared Tammy, adding how being face to face with fellow athletes was a first for Declan.
Yet, the excitement of simply participating in these games paled in comparison to standing up on the podium. Declan secured seven medals in the games, including four gold in track and field, thereby cementing his place as a world champion.
“He’s a world champion. Coming to terms with that fact is still a bit surreal,” Tammy confessed.
Nonetheless, Declan, a picture of humility, regards his victorious stint at the Games merely as an achievement parallel to what anyone could accomplish if they believed in themselves. As he actively anticipates participating in the World Dwarf Games in Australia four years from now, he asserts there is nothing holding us back from reaching our goals. That is, if we dare to step out and give it a shot.