Siblings are woven into the very fabric of the Special Olympics movement. Not only was Special Olympics founded by a sibling (Eunice Kennedy Shriver), but siblings have been at the forefront of many global campaigns and initiatives since its inception. Siblings bring insight and new perspectives wherever they reside. Because of this, we are excited to honor them on this year’s International Siblings Day!
International Siblings Day is recognized around the world as a time to celebrate and appreciate siblings for the irreplaceable role they play in our lives. In honor of this day, we have chosen to highlight three siblings who are active supporters of inclusion, pursuing it in all areas of their lives. Thank you to all Special Olympics siblings for your support, energy, and love for inclusion!
Guadalupe and Milagros
Milagros and Guadalupe Palma are sisters united by the same passion: field hockey! Milagros is a 24-year-old graduate of Andrés Bello University and a decorated Special Olympics Chile athlete. She began playing field hockey in 2021, motivated by her sister Guadalupe.
Guadalupe’s field hockey journey started at just 9 years old when she joined the field hockey team at her school. As she practiced and competed, Guadalupe realized the impact sport was having on her physical and mental wellness. This epiphany eventually turned into a vision to use field hockey to promote the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. Guadalupe soon began to encourage Milagros to join the field hockey team where they were able to play alongside one another.
Over the years, their relationship has continued to grow, displaying values like commitment, hard work, and perseverance. As a Unified team, Guadalupe and Milagros continue to break down barriers in sport and promote inclusion in all areas of their lives!
Amer and Hassan
In 2016, Hassan Musleh joined Special Olympics Jordan with the support of his brother Amer. Through the years, Amer has continued to be an integral part of Hassan’s successful Special Olympics journey. He accompanies Hassan to his Special Olympics practices where they train together and encourage each other to develop their sports skills. Amer also enjoys helping Hassan learn different social and emotional skills during their daily life together.
Because of the support and encouragement from his brother, Hassan has excelled at life, both on and off the field. Today, Hassan is a shining star at Special Olympics Jordan where he trains and competes in several sports, including bocce and athletics. He has won gold, silver, and bronze medals at all levels of Special Olympics competition.
Amer is a terrific example of a supportive sibling who chooses to grow in life and sports skills alongside his brother. They are the true meaning of “team”!
Sophia and Guido
Sofia is the sibling of Guido, who, among many other accomplishments, competes with Special Olympics Argentina. Sofia has always been committed to supporting her brother, but her ultimate goal is to help him gain autonomy in every area of his life.
When asked how Guido changed her life, this is what she said: "Having a sibling with an intellectual disability helps you understand many things that perhaps we would have overlooked otherwise. He taught us to see the world with different eyes and I am totally grateful to him for this opportunity".
Sofia graduated as an Electromechanical Technician in 2022 and is now pursuing a degree in Speech Therapy. She is also a Special Olympics Argentina volunteer and Youth Leader. Sofia’s actions motivate other young people, especially other siblings, to participate actively in Special Olympics, promoting activities based on sport that allow them to develop and learn together.