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Special Olympics returns to Wood Buffalo

PHOTO. Supplied. MYMCMURRAY/Nathalia Cordeau-Hilliard. Reporter

Special Olympics is back in our region after nearly a decade.

A handful of participants came together at The Alley on Jan. 9 to speak to the media.

Many of the participants, including Chantelle Kidd, said the opportunity is more than just playing sports.

“It definitely helps build friendships and bonds with other people that have special needs or disabilities. It definitely builds strength.”

Kidd, who has been with Special Olympics for over ten years, explained that she used to use a walker for her spina bifida and scoliosis. Through Special Olympics she was able to gain the strength to stop relying on it.

Currently in the region there is power lifting and bowling, but many in the group, including Guy Vachon, said they’d like to see floor hockey, swimming and other sports made available.

Carson Stagg said he’d like to see all sports in the Special Olympics.

Monique Gauthier, mother of 18-year-old Colt Wendel, said the support of the schools and students is amazing.

“It helps with their development. It gives them that extra push towards independence. It gives them that confidence to try something new, to try harder, to try to do better than they did yesterday. They have this ability to see the positive in everything.”

The program is available to anyone with intellectual and mobility issues over the age of 8-years-old.

You can find out more information and register for the program by attending the Special Olympics Annual General Meeting on Jan. 16 at the UNIFOR Building.