Melissa Reilly has never let her disability determine what she can and cannot do. Born with Down syndrome, Reilly defies stereotypes every day through sport, leadership and employment, exemplifying the value people with intellectual disabilities bring to all facets of life.
Kevin Brown has overcome just about every obstacle put in front of him. He’s never let failure or people giving him a hard time stop him from doing what he loves. But most of all, he puts others first, leads by example and goes above and beyond, even in these uncertain times.
Special Olympics has come a long way since 1968 and now it goes beyond just sports. In the past two weeks, the Landscape Podcast, a series of episodes highlighting people, programs and businesses changing the landscape for individuals with any type of disability, has focused on Special Olympics and ESPN.
Loretta Claiborne has traveled the world with Special Olympics since starting to compete in 1970 with Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Over the past 50 years, she’s grown into one of Special Olympics’ most influential voices.
Loretta Claiborne always fought for equal rights growing up. It started as a young child and transitioned into her role as Chief Inspiration Officer for Special Olympics and as a member of the board of directors. During a time of sizable racial divide in the 1960s, she had to fight for inclusion because of her skin color, but also because she had different abilities. A fight she keeps alive to this day.
It's the most exciting time of year for all who are involved. Each year at the beginning of June, hundreds of Special Olympics Maryland athletes gather at Towson University just outside Baltimore City, ahead of the annual Summer Games.
I want to tell you a story about a kid who fell in love with sports at a young age. About a kid who had dreams of making a difference. A kid who was willing to do whatever it took to achieve that dream, but who was also just trying to keep up with everyone else.