Inspire Greatness Gala 2021: An Evening to Remember

Victoria Traylor, Special Olympics Illinois athlete from Region E, dazzled in her light blue evening gown at the Inspire Greatness Gala on October 23 in Chicago. Victoria was the highlight of the evening as the 2021 featured athlete for the gala, first starring in the short film Run, Victoria, Run and then delivering an inspiring keynote speech to an audience of 450.

Victoria has competed in numerous events with Special Olympics Illinois during the past six years, including modified volleyball, track and field and golf. However, her favorite sport is rhythmic gymnastics. She enjoys art in many forms and uses drawing as a way to express herself. Several of Victoria’s illustrations are featured in the production, Run Victoria Run.

Watch Run, Victoria Run here.

The event itself was a success, raising nearly $1,000,000 for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois. Attendees bid on silent and live auction items, led by renowned auctioneer and president of Auction Results, David Goodman. The winner of the donated Lululemon MIRROR was announced and the program ended with a paddle raise.

Special guest, former Chicago White Sox player and manager Ozzie Guillen was in attendance with his family and greeted the audience on stage along with Special Olympics Illinois athletes. Attendees watched a Q&A video with Ozzie and Special Olympics Illinois athletes, Jose Moreno, Claire O’Leary and John Wrenn, about the importance of sports and a hard work ethic.

Watch the Ozzie & SOILL athlete Q&A video here

John Alfirevich of Apple Chevrolet accepted the Champion Award on behalf of long-time partner of Special Olympics Illinois, Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevy Dealers, for their more than 30 years of support.

Chicago journalist and Special Olympics Illinois Board Member, Rob Johnson, emceed the night and led a captivating program starting with a comedic skit by Brian Hicks. After the main events, attendees and athletes danced the night away to the music of SEMPLE Band.

Thank you to the Inspire Greatness Gala sponsors who make this event possible: MAKE Corporation, Gelber Group, Advocate Health Care, Wintrust, Jan and Tom Murray Family Foundation, KPMG, Union Carpenters and Contractors, Mike Scudder Family, Ryan Specialties Group, Antunovich Associates, BlueCross BlueShield Illinois, The Stack Family Foundation & Jim and Mary Corrigan, Transcarent, Karen and Mike Atwood, TransUnion, Jenny and P. Jay Fortner Family Fund, SLOAN, Knights of Columbus, Executive Consultants United, Chicago Title, Dearborn Group, Forum Financial, Hobson Lucas Foundation, ITW, Joe & Julie Davies Family Fund, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Pat O’Connor, Walgreens, US Packaging Company, and Old National Bank.

Thank you to everyone who attended Inspire Greatness Gala and those who supported from home. Together you helped make the evening magical and, more importantly, the future for Special Olympics Illinois athletes brighter.

View photos from the event here.

To learn more about Inspire Greatness Gala, go to