Area News – April 2015

Area 2

Athlete Awarded ‘Honorary Maestro’ Title at You Raise Me Up Concert

Special Olympics Illinois athlete Dan James has been competing in Far West Suburban/Area 2 for more than 20 years. But sports are not the only thing he excels in – Dan also finds passion in music.

2015YRME-AP0175Although he never involved himself musically in school, at a very young age his mother, Judy, says he would stand in front of the TV and conduct.  “His favorite holiday was the 4th of July,” Judy says. “He liked to wait until the fireworks and the ‘1812 Overture’ (started) – one of his favorite conducting pieces, as he used to call it!”

This year, Dan conducted the National Anthem which opened the 6th Annual You Raise Me Up Concert at College Church in Wheaton on April 11. This concert brought in nearly $4,500 for Special Olympics Illinois Far West Suburban/Area 2.

Dan was also awarded the title of “Honorary Maestro” for his years of generous help and expertise with conducting the National Anthem. Read More

28th Annual Midwest Golf Celebrity Pro-Am

The 28th Annual Midwest Golf Celebrity Pro-Am to benefit Far West Suburban/Area 2 will be June 22 at The Royal Fox Country Club in St. Charles.

The format for this year’s event will match professional athletes, and other celebrities with amateur foursomes in a scramble format tournament. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. There will be cocktails and a dinner/auction after the day’s golfing.

This event offers attendees the opportunity to join the network of corporations and individuals who contribute to the success of thousands of Special Olympics athletes in the Chicagoland area. Please join us this year as a sponsor, individual golfer or if you can’t attend, a financial contribution.

For more information contact Amy Kaylor at 630-377-7250. View event registration flyer.

Area 3

7th Annual Cubs Rooftop Party

Join the fun at the 7th Annual Chicago Cubs Rooftop Party at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, April 29.

Enjoy a fun evening and exclusive rooftop views of all the action at Wrigley Field from Beyond the Ivy Rooftop at 1010 Waveland Avenue. The game promises to be exciting as the Chicago Cubs challenge the Pittsburgh Pirates. Tickets include unlimited food, beer, wine and soda and guests will enjoy seating that is both enclosed and outdoor on the roof.  Guests will enjoy a silent auction featuring Cubs tickets, restaurant and entertainment gift cards. Tickets including single prices as well as group discounts can be purchased online.

There are limited tickets, so order yours today! Contact Kathy McLaughlin at 773-278-2178 for more information.View flyer for event.

SOILL Athletes Play Ball During Bulls Game      

Bulls photoFriday, April 3, was an exciting evening for the fans in the stands at the Chicago Bulls game. Two Special Olympics Illinois basketball teams were invited to participate in a scrimmage during halftime at the United Center.

Fans cheered on great play between the Misericordia Hot Shots team of Chicago and the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association Blue Stars of  Aurora. The opportunity to scrimmage on the same court as the Chicago Bulls is a highlight for Special Olympics players and coaches and judging by the audience response, the audience had a great time also.

The halftime opportunity has been offered to Special Olympics Illinois teams for more than 10 years.

Young Professionals Board Raises Funds For Area 3

More than 125 people showed up on Saturday, April 11, for the 10th Annual Young Professionals Board Pub Crawl.  Pub Crawl guests visited seven restaurants in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago and enjoyed drink and food specials throughout the day.

Bar-Sponsor-Header---Pub-CrawlThe planning committee also arranged a raffle featuring tickets to Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs games as well as gift cards to more than a dozen Chicago restaurants.  he event earned more than $2,800 to support athletes who participate in the Chicago/Area 3 Special Olympics program.

The Young Professionals Board (YPB) was formed in 2005 to raise funds for Special Olympics Illinois Chicago/Area 3.  For more information, contact Kathy McLaughlin.

 Area 4

Green Auto Family Jumps All In For Rock Island Plunge

Green Chevrolet Chrysler team
Green Chevrolet Chrysler team

For the Green Family Auto Group, giving back to the community is a high priority for the company. Their generosity was quite evident this winter with their support of Special Olympics Illinois and the Rock Island Polar Plunge at Wicks Lake at Jumer’s Casino & Resort.

Jill Green, owner of Green Family Hyundai of Moline, Green Buick GMC of Davenport, Iowa and Green Chevrolet Chrysler of East Moline, pledged an initial $3,000 to sponsor the 4th annual event. Each dealership also agreed to form a team to participate in the Plunge.

More than 40 employees from the three dealerships volunteered to take the chilly dip into Wicks Lake. These brave individuals were not content with just raising the minimum $75 required to plunge, however. A friendly competition between the locations as well as an individual prize saw several people break the $500 level and beyond. Chad Dressing, Dealer Principal, led the charge with $2,150, followed by Bev Carlile at $1,476.79, Shaun Sneath at $1,180 and Jarek Bakken at $525. Read More

Area 6

Heartland/Area 6 Team Puts ‘Unified’ in Unified Relay Across America

On Tuesday, June 9, a Unified group of 14 Central Illinois residents under the team name of Heartland/Area 6 will head to Southern Illinois to run a half-mile in the Unified Relay Across America.

The team, the first Illinois team to sign up to take part in the cross-country relay, intends to put the “Unified” in Unified Relay.  Special Olympics Unified sports involve equal numbers of people with intellectual disabilities and those without playing together on the same team. The Heartland/Area 6 team is represented by all key aspects of Special Olympics – 4 Special Olympics athletes, 4 law enforcement officers, 4 Special Olympics staff/board members, 1 volunteer and 1 member of the local media. Read More

Area 9

Athlete Brooke Ingram Accepting the Challenge

It is a well-known fact that all athletes, disabled or not, have to overcome hardships, setbacks, injuries or defeats in order to continue competing and growing in his or her sport. But sometimes an athlete’s tale of determination and courage to achieve her goals is so inspiring, the journey must be shared. Such is the case of Special Olympics Illinois East Central/Area 9 athlete Brooke Ingram of Mattoon.

Brooke Ingram receives an award at Area 9 Spring Games last year.
Brooke Ingram receives an award at Area 9 Spring Games last year.

Brooke, 21, began participating in Special Olympics sports while attending the Armstrong Center. However, after falling in love with the track & field events and competing for a few years at Spring Games, Brooke was informed that her school would no longer be participating in Special Olympics competitions.

Brooke was undeterred by this news. She spoke to her family about her strong feelings of wanting to continue participating in the local events and activities offered by Area 9. Seeing how important it was to her, Brooke’s mother, stepfather and younger sister all rose to the challenge by becoming coaches so Brooke could achieve her goals. They are all now part of the Independent Ingram Special Olympics team.

If having one setback wasn’t enough, prior to the 2014 Area 9 Spring Games, Brooke was diagnosed with a severe degenerative neuro-metabolic disorder that will eventually result in loss of her mobility and loss of small and large muscle functioning. Again, this did not stop Brooke from completing at the 2014 Spring Games. Brooke won the softball throw in her division, earning her the right to compete at the Summer Games last June. She stood proudly as she received her awards, knowing fully that it might be the last time she would be able to stand for the donning of her medal. Read More

Area 12

Calling all Cardinals Fans

Special Olympics Illinois and Missouri have partnered with St. Louis Cardinals Care and the St. Louis Cardinals for the 3rd Annual Special Olympics Night at Busch Stadium on Wednesday, May 27.

Cardinals Care has invited 400 Special Olympics athletes from IL & MO to come and watch the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at no costs!

In addition, the Cardinals are offering a special ticket prices for all Special Olympics fans, friends and supporters.  Tickets are located in the 200 level of the Left and Right Field Pavilion and are only $15 with $5 of each ticket being donated to Special Olympics.

This offer is only available online and tickets must be purchased by Wednesday, May 13. Purchase your tickets here.

Join the Law Enforcement Torch Run before the game at Cardinals Nation located inside Ballpark Village. Officers from Illinois and Missouri will be collecting “Spare Change” from the crowds to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics.

For more information on either event, contact Sandy Nash at 618-654-6680. View flyer for both events.