'He Dreamt It, He Chased It': Owners Of Local Gym For Those With Special Needs Mourn Loss Of Son To COVID

The owners of a local gym for special needs children were left heartbroken after a sudden tragedy rocked their family.

Sunday, February 25th 2024, 6:51 pm



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The owners of a local gym for special needs children were left heartbroken after a sudden tragedy rocked their family.

Now, they’re struggling to find a way to keep their doors open while they mourn.

"A lot of the other play places are too overwhelming for them," Gwen Batchelor said about the “We Rock the Spectrum” gym she owns with her husband. Gwen and Scott Batchelor bought the gym in 2019.

"We bought it because we have a daughter with Down Syndrome," she said.

The sensory-friendly playground was only the beginning of their journey.

Their non-profit, Beyond the Spectrum, is now offering a host of resources within the gym. Their ultimate goal is to open a special needs school.

"It's grown bigger and better than I ever thought it was going to," Scott said.

But first and foremost, the Batchelor's are parents.

"Our oldest son Zachary came and worked here with us," Gwen explained. “He taught piano lessons, voice lessons, guitar lessons, percussion."

The one thing Zachary loved more than music was his family and his youngest sister who was born with Down Syndrome.

"Olivia is a blessing to our family and I wouldn't want her to be any different than she is," Zachary said in a video shared with News 9 by his family.

A week ago, the Batchelor's lives were turned upside down.

"He was 28 years old,” Gwen said. “Young, healthy, and he caught covid."

He passed away on Monday.

"He was passionate, in a way that just created this drive in him," Gwen said. "He thought it, he dreamt it, he chased it."

Friends and family started a GoFundMe to help keep the gym open.

"While we love what we do, it's not a place where we can afford to staff it 24/7 with someone else," Scott explained.

But Gwen says she wants to do more than just stay open.

"This is his memory. This is his legacy," she said tearfully.

Moving forward, she wants the gym to honor the mark Zachary left on so many.

"If we can continue to create a music program that he would be proud of to give to these kids, to fill this place with music again?” she said. “That would bless my heart as a mother more than anything else."

"If you're interested in getting involved you can visit the family’s non-profit website HERE as well as the GoFundMe HERE.


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