Meet the Richer Brothers – Jeremy and Elliot, the Champions Ball featured athletes. They hail from Montreal, Canada and moved to the United States in 1997.
When Pierre and Linda moved to the Chicago area, they were thrilled to see that their sons would have access to sports through Special Olympics Illinois. Neither are ever not training or competing.
Jeremy, 31, has loved sports since his family can remember. In fact, he’s been trying to shoot baskets since he could walk, and by elementary school that is all he wanted to do during lunch and recess. When he isn’t playing sports, Jeremy is usually watching them. He collects football jerseys and wears them daily regardless of season!
Jeremy has participated in baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, flag football, snowshoeing, golf, floor hockey, track, and swimming. What Jeremy enjoys most about Special Olympics is the opportunity to learn to be a better athlete. He loves to learn new skills and hone those he has.
Elliot, 28, has participated in baseball, softball, volleyball, track, swimming, snowshoeing, soccer, and golf.
Elliot loves people and is very social. He also loves to learn and experience new things, and through Special Olympics has enjoyed the opportunity to play sports individually and on a team. Elliot’s teammates afford him a real friend group like others his age.
In his spare time, Elliot loves music, collects concert t-shirts, and spends his free time with his girlfriend (and teammate), Michelle.
Jeremy and Elliot graduated from Naperville Central High School and work at Organic Life. Both attend a Bunco group, go to a young adult church group, and attend a WDSRA recreational day program.
Last Saturday, November 5, the brothers were honored throughout the evening alongside their fellow athletes. Their mother, Linda, delivered a powerful speech about how Special Olympics Illinois has positively impacted the boys’ lives and has provided continuous opportunities for growth and empowerment:
“When asked their favorite sport, Jeremy responded with ‘football’ while Elliot responded ‘tennis!’ I said ‘Elliot, you have never played tennis.’ And he said ‘I know!’
“Thinking about this afterwards, I realized that when Elliot heard Special Olympics Illinois, his first thought was opportunity. He was focused not just on what sports he had participated in but also on what he would LIKE to do! A new experience!
“Special Olympics Illinois has been honoring inclusion. That can mean many things, on many levels, but for us it means we and our families are included in experiencing what others can experience through real sport. For us inclusion has meant opportunity. The words special needs and disability often infer limits, but Special Olympics Illinois replaces limits with opportunities – and that is very freeing!
“Being part of Special Olympics Illinois is being part of a social movement – one of inclusion and opportunity to reach, and challenge, limits.”
Linda Ramage on Jeremy and Elliot's journey with Special Olympics Illinois
The culmination of the evening was a short film, starring Jeremy and Elliot themselves. Stay tuned later this week for the full video.
Thanks to its incredible attendees and sponsors, the 2022 Champions Ball had a record-breaking year, raising more than $1.4 million. These funds will go toward the life-changing programming that has affected thousands of Special Olympics Illinois athletes, like Jeremy and Elliot.
If you would like to donate to the event, go to one.bidpal.net/championsball.