After 15 years’ experience competing at Summer Games, this year is particularly special for Region H Goodwill athlete, Tracy Turner.

“Both of my kidneys stopped working in 2019,” said Tracy, “Luckily, I was able to have a kidney transplant in April of 2022.”

Tracy’s road back to sports hasn’t been easy, but she remains positive. “I am super excited to be back competing with Special Olympics Illinois.”

Tracy’s coach, Kathy Goebel, has known Tracy for more than 25 years and has been a coach with Special Olympics Illinois for about 15. “Tracy is amazing, strong, and determined,” Kathy said. “I don’t believe I know anyone that could go through what Tracy has and still come out smiling.”

After mastering her race at the Region H Spring Games in May, Tracy will compete in her all-time favorite event at Summer Games – the 50-meter run. “I’m doing lots of practicing, trying to get faster,” she said.

About Summer Games, both Tracy and Kathy say they enjoy watching athletes from all parts of the state compete in the seven different sports offered. “Everyone works so hard and it really brings so much joy,” said Kathy.

But anyone who has attended the annual Summer Games knows there’s more to the three-day weekend than just sports. “I love staying in the dorms with my teammates,” said Tracy, “I also love participating in all the fun activities that are offered.”

Examples of additional activities include Olympic Town, Healthy Athletes, Opening Ceremony, eSports, and more.

Despite her hardships, Tracy is ready to get back in action. About her return, Kathy has one piece of advice for Tracy: “Just do your best.”

Make sure to stay up-to-date with all the weekend’s happenings. Text “Summer” to 844-393-0980 to sign up for our text alert system. Learn more about 2023 Summer Games, plus view a more detailed event schedule, here.