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Special Olympics is about sports but it is also about so much more. For people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics is often the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities and develop belief in themselves. It is inspiring when you see a father’s pride in his son's achievement … a mother's relief when her daughter makes friends … siblings cheering for their brother or sister for the first time.  


See Mike in action. Browse photos of Mike’s journey with Special Olympics.SEE SLIDESHOW

Meet Mike Bailey

Special Olympics sports provide a gateway to empowerment, competence, acceptance and joy. Take Mike Bailey, for instance. He was born with Down syndrome and has been an avid Special Olympics athlete since he was a child. Today, he keeps a busy schedule, juggling his work, college studies and multiple sports, from bocce ball to powerlifting.

When Mike's parents Dave and Karen first learned that their son had Down syndrome, they were crushed. They thought many of their dreams were shattered. Now they say that getting their son involved with Special Olympics "was most likely one of, if not the most important decision we ever made for Mike." Special Olympics gave the Baileys an opportunity to form lifelong friendships and cheer for their son. See slideshow about Mike Bailey


Opportunities to Shine. For every athlete like Jacque, there are many more people with intellectual disabilities we have not reached yet.SEE SLIDESHOW

Place to Belong: Jacque's Story

Jacqueline Mason is an energetic, confident, and outgoing young woman, a great encouragement to her teammates. It is difficult to believe that before Special Olympics Jacque was reclusive and too frightened of making eye contact.

In elementary school, Jacque was known as "slow" and as a preteen she was finally diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which has caused cognitive difficulties and memory problems. Jacque's coach and friend Mary Jane recalls, "It's just amazing that Special Olympics has given her this opportunity to flourish. With each success, her self-esteem and self-confidence increase. Now, she goes to school, works and competes in two sports. The change is dazzling. It's really a caterpillar turned into a butterfly."
See slideshow about Jacqueline Mason

Give the Power of Sport to One More Person

Join us in changing lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Help us reach out to a person like Mike and Jacque who want to participate in Special Olympics but are still waiting for their chance. Your generosity enables Special Olympics to provide sports training, competitions, and programs that benefit athletes, their families and their communities. 

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Help us reach more people with intellectual disabilities and bring them the power of sport to build confidence and good health.


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Get in touch with Special Olympics near you and see what you can do to help. It's fun and can be life-changing.


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