Winners of the Junior National Championship, presented by the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) and ZLB Behring, were announced at the Awards Luncheon at NHF’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday, October 14, 2006.
Jordan Swoape, 13, Muncie, IN. Jordan, who has von Willebrand disease, started playing baseball when he was five years old and now plays short stop and pitcher on two teams. In addition to winning a trip to the Annual Meeting—his first flight--he won a bat bag filled with equipment.
Benjamin Gruher, 7, Camas, WA. Benjamin, who has severe hemophilia A, started swinging a golf club at age 3 and now plays three times a week. He competed in the US Kids Tournament. He also won a trip to the Annual Meeting and a golf bag with a set of irons.
The Junior National Championships were held in four regions in August and September—Indianapolis, IN; Portland, OR; Albany, NY; and San Diego, CA. Children ages 7-18 with a bleeding disorder were invited to attend the all-day sports event, which offered games and activities, a sports competition and awards ceremony. They afford children and teens with bleeding disorders the opportunity to meet professional athletes who also have bleeding disorders and receive coaching tips and advice.
This year the coaching clinics were conducted by professional golfer Perry Parker, who has mild hemophilia A (factor VIII deficiency), and professional baseball player Jesse Schrader, who has moderate hemophilia A.
The regional events attracted hundreds of kids, siblings and families. The Albany event made history as 14-year-old Brianna Blazavich from Endicott, NY, became the first girl to win a JNC event. She won the baseball competition.