K’Von Albert is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. Born with Femoral Hypoplasia Unusual Facies Syndrome, a rare condition characterized by the underdevelopment of the thigh bone and characteristic facial features, K’Von spent five and a half months in the NICU and underwent several surgeries. His mother, Kindera Hilliard, shares, “He had heart surgery and surgery to repair his palate when he was just a few months old, but he has adapted well. The doctors tried to use prosthetics, but they didn’t work because he was born without hip sockets. So, he was moved to a wheelchair. It was stressful, but God got us through it.”
The journey hasn’t been easy, but K’Von has remained resilient with the help of his friends who encourage him to never give up. That mentality has kept him strong in his daily life, but also has lead him to winning gold medals in the Special Olympics. When he was six years old, K’Von began competing in the Special Olympics after Michelle deVeer, a teacher at Oak Grove Primary, asked his parents if they would consider getting him involved. K’Von committed and has since competed in track and field, bowling, and most recently, powerlifting.
To get ready for a competition, K’Von trains with Coach Paul Fletcher in Baton Rouge, and his hard work has certainly paid off. Over the years, K’Von has won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, and 400m wheelchair races, the softball throw, and in the shot put throw–all on the national level. He also claimed a gold medal in bench press powerlifting, even though it was his first time ever competing in the event.
To K’Von, the Special Olympics is the best thing that has ever happened to him. He enjoys competing alongside his friends and cheering them on in their events, too. Recently, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame reached out to him and asked if they could display his racing wheelchair as a part of the Brave in the Attempt: Special Olympics in Louisiana exhibit. His response to the cool recognition? “God just keeps blessing me,” he says.
Now 18 years old, K’Von is looking forward to his senior year at Dutchtown High School. He is also hoping to visit Tennessee this fall so he can see the seasons change. While he enjoys competing in the Special Olympics (track and field is his favorite event), it’s music that is his greatest passion. He plays drums and writes his own music, and his favorite music to listen to is hip hop and rap. K’Von is quite the entertainer and has the ability to light up any room.
“He’s a very outgoing, funny, and talented young man. He motivates and pushes us as a family. We often look at his journey and how far he has come. He is the living example that confirms anything is possible,” Hilliard adds.
The Special Olympics play an important role in K’Von’s life, and both he and his mother hope that more people will get involved and volunteer because they know everyone will fall in love with it as they have. For anyone who may want to start competing, K’Von shares that there’s a motto he and his friends lived by when they were competing in Nebraska and needed encouragement, and it’s the same advice he is offering to everyone now: Go for the gold! ■