June 10, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Romania

Special Olympics is our life

By Kristin Hughes

Alexandru and Laurentin Zelko at Healthy Athletes during Special Olympics Romania Summer Games 2014

When Laurentin was born, the doctors told his parents they should leave him because he was not worth anything. But Laurentin’s parents loved their child. Laurentin did not learn to walk until he was four and at age five he spoke his first word, “mama”. Eventually they found Special Olympics. “Special Olympics is our life. It has given me strength and confidence and made us so proud.” Not only has Special Olympics sport provided many opportunities for Laurentin, but through Healthy Athletes, it was discovered that Laurentin had a severe hearing problem. The doctor who saw Laurentin at Healthy Athletes Healthy Hearing told him to come see her at the hospital in Bucharest for treatment, and now Laurentin is able to hear and is not longer in pain. Prescription glasses were also given to Laurentin at Opening Eyes.“We are so grateful for Special Olympics,” says Alexandru “it has been a challenging journey, and Special Olympics has greatly improved the health and well-being of our son."

About Kristin Hughes: Senior Manager of Global Community Health Programs at Special Olympics, believer in inclusion for all and striving to to ensure people with intellectual disabilities have equal access to health resources, opportunities, education and care.
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