CONNECTICUT (FOX 5 NEWS) - A mother in Connecticut has created a special tribute to her 7-year-old son who was killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Chase Kowalski loved to run and compete in sports. His mom is going above and beyond to inspire other kids to do the same.
Chase competed in a triathlon for children when he was just 6. He couldn't have been more thrilled. Rebecca Kowalski says her little boy won his age group. Just a few months later, Chase and 19 other first-graders were murdered in a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook.
Rebecca and her husband Steve were determined to turn their struggle and agony into something positive in memory of their sweet little boy. The Kowalskis started the Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski Foundation in Chase's memory.
The foundation partners with the YMCA to provide a free 6-week summer training program for children who then compete in the Race for Chase Triathlon. The children are from all economic backgrounds and for many of them, this is where they learn how to swim and ride a bike. The program also teaches healthy eating and provides breakfast and lunch for the children.
The program started four years ago in Connecticut and has expanded to Rhode Island and South Carolina serving 650 kids this summer alone. Most of the coaches are volunteers. The children express love for a little boy most of them never met.
Chase's love of sports and competing in a triathlon are not only having an impact on these children but on people across the country wanting to fulfill Chase's dream of having a wall full of medals.
Rebecca says people inspired by Chase compete in races and then send her their medals. Thoughtful gestures like this help Rebecca and her family survive their tragic loss. But despite their pain, they are going above and beyond to help others.