All of the Special Olympics Athletes Were Champions!
by Sheryl Sack, Assistant Medical Group Administrator for Kaiser Permanente’s Baldwin Park Medical Center
This past summer I was a volunteer photographer for the Summer Games Special Olympics of Southern California. This was my first time volunteering for this event and I was not sure what to expect. In the end, I realized that the three days I spent photographing these athletes was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Viewing the athletes through my lens, I saw individuals with perseverance, pride, joy and victory on their faces as they ran track, performed the long jump, and threw the soft ball and shot-put. It was amazing. In my eyes, all of the athletes were champions. Their facial expressions of triumph as they crossed the finish line and the camaraderie they shared with each other, their coaches, and the volunteers was extraordinary.
I came to see that the Special Olympics is about transforming lives not only for the athletes but also for the people who volunteer. It’s about spirit, teamwork and giving. Hugging and sharing high-fives with the athletes filled me with a sense of gratitude. I was inspired and humbled when I saw them put forth the extra effort required to overcome the additional hurdles that life has given them and then achieve their goals. It was a reminder that I don’t have those extra hurdles and for that I have a responsibility to help others. Taking photos is a way that I can share with the world how special these athletes are, how much they can accomplish and what they offer us.
The people who gave of their time to make the Special Olympics of Southern California a reality for our special Olympians also deserve to be acknowledged. Without their hard work and commitment, we would have never have had the opportunity to see what these athletes can accomplish. In particular I was impressed with Kris Drummond, assistant vice president, Corporate Partnership; and Brian Szczerbinski, director, Special Events and Communication. They are great leaders and true role models to all who participate in the Special Olympics.
by Sheryl Sack
Assistant Medical Group Administrator
Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center
Learn more about how you can help at the Special Olympics Summer World Games. They will be held in Los Angeles in the summer of 2015.