Special Olympics has had a tremendous impact on my daughter, Lisa. It has opened up a whole new world for her and I’ve seen her grow and develop into a very poised, outgoing, and athletic(!) person. She has always enjoyed sports, but for various reasons over the years, was unable to participate in any directly. Special Olympics has given her the opportunity to join in on more activities and sports than she ever dreamed of doing—bocce, basketball, flag football, track, snowshoeing, the minijavelin throw, and bowling. She may not be the best one on the team, but I can’t image anyone is playing with more heart than Lisa. She wants to do well and win, but, even more, she has learned the satisfaction that comes from doing her best and helping her teammates do well.
Lisa has also been chosen to participate in the Global Messenger program. She truly shines in this role and takes her responsibilities very seriously. She is always open to new assignments, and I have been so proud of how she has sought out opportunities to talk about Special Olympics with various people. Lisa contacted the mayor and as a result of that contact, received a resolution congratulating Special Olympics on their 50th anniversary from the the Evanston City Council. She will be on Windy City Live as a result of contacting the reporter at Chicago’s ABC Channel 7 that does the program. She pours her heart and soul into her presentations and her love for Special Olympics is evident to all.
As a child, Lisa was very shy and didn’t talk to many people other than to say hello. She struggled with fine and large motor skills, and with other issues that caused her to have problems making friends. She never gave up though, and always kept trying to make things work. Lisa will be 45 soon, and in thinking back to her grade and high school years, I marvel that she had the courage to keep going like she did. But her persistence and courage have allowed her to grow and develop in amazing ways.