When Scott and Emily Kopenitz signed up their 5-year-old son, Steven, who has severe hemophilia A, for day camp this past summer, the administrators shared the schedule with them.
“One of the first things they asked us was, ‘What can he not do?’” Scott says. “We looked through the list, which included a golf camp and a boat trip on a lake and a bunch of other activities, and he could do all of it.”
That was welcome news to Scott and Emily, who say they are determined to give Steven and his 2-year-old brother, Adam, who also has severe hemophilia A, as normal a life as possible. “Yes, they both have a bleeding disorder, but that shouldn’t hold them back,” Emily adds. “We want them to be able to live a full and active life with no limitations.”
That “no limitations” mindset inspired the Odessa, Texas, couple to think of ways that they and their sons could get more involved in their local community and help spread awareness that people with blood disorders can play and live like anyone else.
Scott and Emily approached the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) about creating a field day event that would bring together children and adults — with and without bleeding disorders — for a day of ring toss, relay races, and other fun activities.
In September 2022, the Kopenitz family hosted the first No Limitations Field Day in Odessa, and other bleeding disorders community members around the country hosted their own field days in September and October. The events included a fundraising component, so participants could help raise money for NHF’s mission to improve the lives of people with inheritable blood disorders.
“This event is starting off small, but we’re hoping that others in the community will be inspired to host a field day, share their own stories, and help spread awareness,” Scott says.
Adds Emily: “As Steven and Adam get older, we can see them getting more and more involved with planning and putting on the event. It will be a great way for them to give back to the community.”
Giving back comes naturally to the Kopenitz family. Scott’s parents, Steve and Sheila Kopenitz, have been generous supporters of NHF since 2017, and in 2019 the couple made a five-year commitment to support the Connections for Learning program, which enables families with limited financial means to attend the Bleeding Disorders Conference. More recently, the couple donated to NHF’s health equity initiatives.
“Now, with this new field day event, we see our grandsons, even though they are still very young, taking their first step into philanthropic efforts and understanding that it’s a lot more than just writing a check,” Steve says.