Special Olympics Illinois hosted the 17th Annual MedFest on Nov. 10 at the United Center in Chicago. The United Center generously welcomed Special Olympics Illinois back for this event which provides people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to receive the sports physical required to participate in Special Olympics at no cost. More than 1,300 athletes received free exams from Advocate Medical Group doctors who donated their time to support this event. View photos from MedFest.
In addition to the physical exams, Opening Eyes has joined the MedFest event by offering athletes free eye exams. Opening Eyes is part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative which is a partnership between Lion’s Club International and Special Olympics Inc. Those athletes in need of prescription eyewear are given the glasses they need, all free of charge. The Illinois College of Optometry is a great partner for this portion of the event, recruiting volunteers and implementing the eye exams to those athletes interested in participating.
Coaches are asked to complete a survey at the end of their MedFest experience and one coach stated “MedFest provides a once in a lifetime for our athletes allowing them to participate in a wide variety of sporting events that would be difficult to do if it wasn’t for this fantastic event. Most of our athletes would not be able to go to the doctor on their own, so MedFest allows a free check-up that is beyond convenient for them. We are so grateful!”
MedFest would not be possible without the generous support of the United Center, Levy Restaurants, Advocate Medical Group, Opening Eyes, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, GE, The Stack Family Foundation, Sunrise Transportation and Durham Transport. Special Olympics Illinois is thankful to the contributions of each of these groups, and all volunteers, including groups from St. Rita High School, Schneider Logistics, Chicago State University, Jelly Vision and Chamberlain College of Nurses.
Special Olympics looks forward to seeing these athletes compete at the 2016 competitions!