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September 28, 2012 | North America: Virginia

Friends Forever, the Surprising Lesson of Special Olympics :-)

By Robin Schermerhorn

One of David's friends, Frank Stephens, gives him heartfelt praise.

Recently I attended a birthday party for a friend, David Egan, from Virginia who was turning 35 years old. David is a Special Olympics basketball player, soccer player, swimmer and much more. The party had all the ingredients for a wonderful time--pizza, games, dancing, music, and running video of accomplishments displayed nearby. The cake was cut and served. I thought that the party couldn't get any better. Then attendees in the room were invited to speak. I expected to hear sweet birthday wishes and funny comments of past occasions, especially since his family members were such jokers. One of his friends took the microphone, stood tall, took a deep breath, and with his sensitive and inspiring speech blew me away with his compassion for both his friend and the ties that bound them through the Special Olympics. I felt humbled in the presence of a spirit in the room bigger than any one of us there. The presence of Special Olympics in these men and women empowers and enables them to think beyond athletics to having a social network of close friends; friends forever.

About Robin Schermerhorn: I am a parent of a son, Mason, who participates in several activities yearly with Special Olympics. The organization has had a very positive impact on my son's life.
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