WINGATE, Pa. (WTAJ) – Well imagine dealing with so much tragedy and chaos in your life, you have no idea what normal is to you.
For Kaden Bittinger, football and himself go hand-in-hand. A connection going back as long as he can remember.
“Ever since I could walk, I was just throwing a football in the backyard playing catch,” Bittinger said.
And nobody he enjoyed throwing with more than his dad, David.
“Playing catch with him was some of the best memories I had,” Bittinger said.
Growing up, KAden’s childhood was anything but stable, except he didn’t know it.
“Growing up I thought it was normal. I moved probably more than a dozen times, switching schools and what not, meeting new people and never fitting in,” Bittinger said.
At age 6, his house burned down.
“My brother shook me and woke me up and said the house is on fire, we just left, stayed the night at my grams place, had to get a new place,” Bittinger said.
Just the beginning of his roller coaster.
“Me and my sister were at my house in Zion, and my mom and dad just didn’t come home one day,” Bittinger said.
Kaden’s dad battled drug addiction, spending the next few years in and out of prison.
“I knew I just had to stay strong and take care of myself, and have my gram there for me,” Bittinger said.
On October 26th, 2016, he got a call that would once again change his life forever.
“I just remember going to the hospital to say goodbye,” Bittinger said.
One day later, Kaden’s father passed away.
“It was kind of hard to come back from that, but I just had to work hard and try to make my dad proud, I’ll see him one day,” Bittinger said.
That same day, Bittinger honored his dad the only way he knew how, on the football field.
“It was a moment I’ll never forget,” Bald Eagle football coach Jesse Nagle said.
Kaden scored his first ever touchdown.
“Emotional because I just scored and he couldn’t see it but I know he could see it from above,” Bittinger said.
“It was a fantastic moment for him and his family,” Nagle said.
And he’s never looked back.
“Shows just how much football can do for somebody, just the success and focus they’ve put into it, it’s probably changed their lives forever.”