Each and every citizen in Loveland makes up an important piece of the community, but in saying that it’s up to the citizen as to what they do with their role as an important piece of that community. This is what makes up a community’s “D.N.A.”
Over the past two years, Loveland Magazine has been in search of community members that truly play an important role in Loveland’s D.N.A.
by Cassie Mattia
Loveland, Ohio – In the Sweetheart of Ohio, it’s not hard to find a good inspirational story as you could simply walk down the Loveland Bike Trail and find a lovely Loveland local to tell you their story. But there is a significant difference between a good story and a great story and well this 11-year-old Loveland prodigy makes for one GREAT story!
Delaney Dunlap, daughter of Mike and Gina Dunlap, from a very young age always saw the rainbow behind the storm cloud. At 15 months old, Delaney encountered the turning point of her very young life; a leg amputation. Delaney was born with a condition called Fibular Hemimelia, meaning her fibular bone was missing. When the fibular bone is missing this can lead to limb length discrepancy, foot deformities, and knee deformities. Only 1 in 40,000 births encounter FH.
“We worked with Shriners and Children’s Hospital to determine the best course of action and we decided that having an amputation at an early age would allow her the most normal life with the least interruptions,” Delaney’s mother Gina explained, “On March 4th, 2012, at 15 months old she had her amputation. About 3 months later she was fit for her prosthetic leg.”
Both Gina and Mike Dunlap knew very early on that Delaney’s leg amputation wouldn’t stop her from achieving her highest goals!
“At 2 years of age, she took her leg from us and said, ‘I do it myself!’ She proceeded to put her leg on and jump up and say, all done, with a shrug of her shoulders,” Gina said. “By 4 we had her in gymnastics with Ms. Karol Warden and she started performing in front of people. By 5 she was playing soccer, by 7 she was playing softball, by 8 she was golfing, and about 2 years ago she took up snowboarding,” Gina added.
Now at age 11, Delaney has not only been featured in several news outlets nationally for her unbelievable athletic abilities, but she has also shared her gymnastic skill set with the world, tumbling at university games, half-time shows, local schools, and festivals. Below is a video clip of Delaney performing at the halftime of the UC game in December.
Mike Dunlap, Loveland High School’s Soccer Coach, and Science Teacher couldn’t be more proud of Delaney’s hard work and dedication to her craft!
“Delaney has gotten the opportunity because of her determination, to do many auditions and has landed a couple of commercials. She loves Tik Tok,” Mike added, “She currently has gathered 8 of her friends together and is choreographing a performance for the upcoming talent show at Loveland Intermediate School. They practiced for 2 hours the other day!”
Delaney is not only an all-star athlete she was also recently selected as an Academic All-Star for the Ohio Lottery’s Partners in Education program.
“Delaney signed with a talent agency in 2016! She has done 2 commercials and a Huffy photo shoot,” Gina said, “Recently she has had big auditions for Netflix, Nickelodeon, HBO, and Disney!”
Gina also told us that Delaney has been consistently visiting 2 kids, Tessa and Eli who have recently had amputations. “She just wanted to let them know that they are not alone and they can do anything they set their minds to doing,” Gina said.
Karol Warden, tumbling coach for the SoringMaster Tumbling Team has coached Delaney for 5 years. Warden said, “She inspires everyone.” Warden says that Delaney is a joy to teach and has the highest round off tuck of all of her students. “She never complains or uses her disability as an excuse. Her parents have done a great job teaching her ‘I can’ and not accepting ‘I cannot!.”
So without further ado, Loveland Magazine presents, “What’s In Loveland’s DNA: Delaney Dunlap,” an exclusive one-on-one on-camera interview!
Watch Delaney tumbling at a recent Loveland High School halftime
Click to read about Delaney’s father L.H.S’s Mike Dunlap who Provides Tiger Students and Athletes the Tools for a Bright Future