Colin's Gift to His Mom: Inspiration!

Kelli has been a supporter of Special Olympics even before her son was born. With the support of his family, Colin has become active in the Young Athletes program and has significantly developed both physically and socially. Now 6-year-old Colin has gained experience playing a number of different sports and he is eager to try out more!

A Wonderful Gift

Kelli laughs when she thinks back to how she first got involved with Special Olympics, back when she was expecting her first baby. It was a cold February day, and she was cheering on the beach as a friend jumped into icy waters at a Special Olympics Polar Plunge fund-raiser. Says Kelli, “It was freezing cold and I thought it was a crazy thing to do – but for a great cause.” 

Her baby, Colin, was born a few months later, and the diagnosis of Down syndrome came as a shock. Kelli says she and her husband, Chris, had a lot of adjustments to make. Among other things, she says, they had to cope with the fact that their lives were going to be totally different.

Welcomed with Open Arms

“It was a tough time, but then my best friend – the one who had done the Polar Plunge – said, ‘let’s make a team for Colin – to raise money for Special Olympics!” That first year, there were 30 people on the CAT (Colin Allan Tobin) Crew who raised $30,000 -- and they’ve kept going ever since. 

Kelli says she got through that tough time thanks to a lot of support, which included help from the Special Olympics community. “We were surprised by how much we’ve been welcomed by everyone. Special Olympics has been a real community – it’s been so good to be among people who understand. It’s also been a real learning experience.”

Coming Into His Own

These days, 6-year-old Colin has developed into a funny, strong-willed and independent kid who loves to learn and try new activities. In the Special Olympics Young Athletes program, which aims to enhance motor and cognitive development, Colin played floor hockey as a winter sport and track as a summer sport. This coming fall he plans to add another Special Olympics sport to his repertoire- golf! With brand new golf clubs that he received for his birthday, there is no doubt that Colin is ready.

 The success and confidence that Colin has found in the Young Athletes Program inspired Kelli Tobin to get her son involved in community sport programs as well, such as karate and soccer! Colin even gets to compete alongside his sister, Kailey. He is currently enrolled in the general education Kindergarten classroom at his school where he continues to grow and work on his communication skills. 

Kelli says Colin continues to amaze them and with his success both within and outside Special Olympics, their belief in his abilities continues to grow. “Some of the things he comes home with and tells us are remarkable and prove to us every day that he belongs.”