Will’s World

Will Seavers doesn’t let his disability stop him from being a highlight of Hagerty
Will Seavers and friends after he received his medal at the Special Olympics. After discovering a love for basketball, Will began to compete for his middle school team and participate in the Special Olympics games.
Will Seavers and friends after he received his medal at the Special Olympics. After discovering a love for basketball, Will began to compete for his middle school team and participate in the Special Olympics games.
photo by Greg Seavers

You are having a bad day—maybe you just flunked a math test or had a falling out with a close friend. As you mope to your next class, you’re approached by a friendly face and can’t help but smile. This face is junior Will Seavers.

Will is someone who’s never let his disability stop him from putting a smile on others’ faces and living his life to the fullest. From simply spreading positivity to winning a gold medal in the Special Olympics, Seavers is someone who enjoys life and has become a beloved face around campus.

Will lives with Williams Syndrome, a condition caused by gene deletion within chromosome number 7 which affects learning and physical health, specifically the heart. Some may think living with a disability is a constant challenge, but Will shatters these assumptions.

“He likes to work, he likes to do well,” Yenny White, Will’s aide who attends class with him, said. 

Will is not someone to let his condition get in the way of enjoying his lifehe can’t be anyone but himself.

“It has not affected William because this is all he has known,” Will’s father, Greg Seavers said.

He’s always making new friendsa lot of new friends. Will is a naturally social person who talks to anyone regardless of their age, race or gender leading him to become a familiar face to those on campus.

 His freshman year, he befriended a group of seniors whom he calls his “Will Brothers.”

“I honestly don’t remember [when we met]. He just came up and started talking to me one day,” Ethan Shaw, a Hagerty alumni and Will Brother, said.

This highlights the nature of Will’s personality, while some may be nervous to talk to new faces, Will simply sees someone, decides they are the newest edition to the “Will Family” and connects with them.

“He wants everyone to be happy and he strives to make people happy. He can sense people’s feelings. He knows no strangers,” Greg said.

He wants everyone to be happy and he strives to make people happy. He can sense people’s feelings. He knows no strangers.

— Will's father, Greg Seavers

High sociability and empathy are characteristics of those with Williams Syndrome, however, the level to which Will reaches out to others stems from his vibrant and loveable personality.

“He’s very positive. He has an energy about him that even people who are feeling down come and greet him and it can brighten up their day,” White said.

When Will is not cheerfully socializing with others he’s pursuing one of his biggest loves, basketball. His interest began in middle school after experimenting with many different sports, coming as a surprise to his father as his family members were not big basketball fans. Will would go on to make the Lawton Chiles Middle School team and get to start every game. 

“I started in seventh grade and loved it. I played until Covid hit,” Will said.

Once he reached high school, Will sought to compete at a higher level. He and his father decided to try the Special Olympics in Seminole County, and in spite of the heart issues associated with Williams Syndrome, Will was cleared to play by his heart doctor.

Will Seavers in his Special Olympics jersey prior to competition. Despite the heart issues associated with Williams Syndrome, Will was cleared to play by his doctors. (photo by Greg Seavers)

“It never stopped me, and I just moved on because we have a good group of doctors and nurses that support us and they help me with my heart,” Will said. “It will never stop me from being myself and I feel like my heart will live on forever.”

 He immediately fell in love with his team and won district and regional games, qualifying him for the state competition where he won the gold medal in his first year. 

“We have a great team and a lot of my friends are my teammates. I like it a lot because it’s so important to have skills and it’s really fun,” Will said.

This would not only be a great experience for Will, but his father as well.

“I enjoyed it so much that I became a certified coach and became Will’s coach the next year,” Greg said.

Between Special Olympics appearances, Will would serve as the manager for Hagerty’s freshman and JV teams, getting the opportunity to learn new skills from the players and head coach Josh Kohn. Will’s loveable and easy-going demeanor makes him someone people gravitate towards on and off the court.  

Just as people love Will, Will loves peoplehe is someone who is not judgmental and tries his best to be kind to everyone. Positivity is a two-way street, and Will Seavers will always be traveling down one of those lanes hoping someone will reciprocate. 

“They are all my friends and my family because they all love me and respect me because of my disability,” Will said. “It’s an amazing thing to have friends around you that love you and they will be there for you no matter what.”

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