Support local Special Olympics athletes at Thursday’s torch run

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Special Olympics has changed my life for the best ever. It changed the lives of many of my friends and our family members, also. It is about including people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics accepts me for who I am, not what I am. I am a 24-year-old young woman with down syndrome. Special Olympics do not judge me by my outward appearances, but understands I have skills and what’s in my heart that counts.

I love being recognized for my many talents. Over the years, I have participated in Special Olympics in the areas of track and field, BOCCE, soccer skills, basketball skills and bowling. I even tried swimming in which I found out that’s not for me. I am also a member of our Global Messenger training program which offers public speaking and presentation skills. I help spread our mission and vision, as well as encourage the community to participate with Special Olympics as an athlete, sponsor or volunteer. I assist with fundraisers and Opening Ceremonies.

Special Olympics has helped me find my pathway to compete and be a part of my community in a positive way. Through the power of sports, Special Olympics helps people with intellectual disabilities feel welcome and valued in their communities, developing a profound belief in themselves and their self-worth. The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympics-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

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At 9 a.m. Thursday on the bluff I would like to invite you to come out and join me and my fellow athletes as we welcome the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) as they pass through Natchez on their way to the 2016 Special Olympics State Summer Games in Biloxi, Keesler Airforce Base, which will take place on May 20-22.

The mission of the LETR for Special Olympics is to raise funds for and awareness of the Special Olympics movement worldwide. Law Enforcement will carry the torch, representing the “Flame of Hope,” and dedicate itself to the goals of continually increasing awareness and funds for Special Olympics athletes worldwide.

There is a place for you to offer your services so that Special Olympics can achieve its goal of offering the Special Olympics experience to all individuals with intellectual disabilities in our area. Please follow us on Facebook, Southwest/Area 7 Special Olympics or email Area Director, Tommie Jones, at, or donate to Special Olympics Mississippi Southwest Region at Regions Bank.


Maggie Burns is the Special Olympics Global Messenger for the Southwest Region