David Egan: Finding His Voice

March 21, 2012

David Egan has always dreamed big. When he was a youngster, starting out as a Special Olympics swimmer, he dreamed of winning his races. As he grew, he looked to bigger goals –having a job and finding ways to change attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities.

300x200-David-Egan-Capitol-Hill-2011

David Egan’s leadership skills shine as he chats up members of the Senate after wrapping up his testimony before the Health, Education and Labor Committee. 

Meet David

Now 33 years old, David has been living his dream – and inspiring others to live theirs. Among other things, he’s grown up to be a sought-after spokesman for people with intellectual disabilities, speaking at international conferences, testifying at a U.S. Senate hearing last year, and addressing a global audience at the United Nations this year.  


230x300-David-Egan-Little-Boy

David’s family says he has always worked hard to succeed, even when he was little. 

Determination to Succeed

For David, who has Down syndrome, his many achievements haven’t come easily. That’s where determination comes in – to keep pushing even when things seem hard. David says he learned that as a young athlete. “Special Olympics taught me to succeed, to set a goal and do my best,” says David. “It changed my life.”

David is also marking 15 years working at the technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. He and his family say his path to success began early; in many ways, it began with sports.

His mom, Kathleen, says young David worked hard to compete in local swimming events, where he was the only swimmer with disabilities. “But David was a competitor and wanted to be Number 1,” says his mom. “And that was hard in a pool of strong swimmers who broke records.” When he joined Special Olympics, Kathleen says he began to really gain confidence and build self-esteem. “He could be his best and be Number 1,” she says. “For us parents, the greatest thing was to see his joy and motivation…and celebrate his successes.” 


230x300-David-Egan-Adolescent

As David recalls, “It was hard for me to accept that I have Down syndrome. But it became easier when I joined Special Olympics and discovered I was not alone.” 

For the Whole Family

Soon, Special Olympics became more than just David’s thing; the whole family got involved. While David played soccer and basketball, his dad coached, and his little sister and brother helped on the field and chased the balls. Says Kathleen, “Those practices and games have made a long impression on all of us. Then it was not only David gaining confidence and experiencing joy, it was all of us as a family volunteering.” David’s sisters also began mentoring figure skaters with special needs; his brother coached soccer and played unified softball.

Kathleen admits to being hugely proud of David (“he amazes me”) and gives Special Olympics credit for helping him reach his dreams. As for the rest of her family, she says Special Olympics “has also changed their lives for the better.” She adds, “They know now how to appreciate the little successes and give it your best: ‘Let me win and if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’ They have applied this to their lives.”  


Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

Help us reach out to one more athlete.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 220 worldwide locations.

FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU »

Videos and Photos

DifferentBarry Cairns tells what it's like to be a Special Olympics athlete.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

SpeechlessSpecial Olympics changed her life in deep and meaningful ways.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Summer GamesAround the world, months of practice are paying off.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Photos on FBSee photos and comments from our supporters around the world.See Photos »


Videos and Photos

Hope in HaitiLeo and Gedeon play in makeshift fields, tent towns, wherever they can.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Finding His VoiceDavid Egan has always dreamed big. Now look at him!Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Sport Teaches UsOur life-changing work is fueled by the power of sport.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Making SuccessDoctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.” Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Very Very SpecialMusic helps Special Olympics make an impact worldwide.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Around The WorldGreat photos of Special Olympics events and people.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Focus on ChangeWhat we do can't be done without our partners.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Who We AreWe are athletes, families, celebs, volunteers and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Playing UnifiedUnified Sports reveals strengths in every team member.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Healthier AthletesOur free health clinics are making a huge difference.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Deon NamisebHe's a speaker and role model. It didn't start that way in Namibia.Learn More »


Special Olympics Blog

Health Needs Need Closer Examination

"You can't compete if your feet hurt, if your teeth hurt or if your ears ache."read more »

Posted on 2014-04-07 by Ryan

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan