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Inspiring Stories

Six young male special Olympians standing in line celebrating
photo of Danielle Garcia

Special Olympics Ignited a Spark Within the Heart of an Athlete

Danielle Garcia was itching to go out for sports, but school just wasn't the place to do it. "I always got teased and messed with in school because I was different," says Danielle. "I was afraid to go out for any sport, and I probably wouldn't have made it anyway."

Enter the Special Olympics.

Danielle launched her Special Olympics career with bowling but when she went to a big event and saw all the other activities, it was like a new world. "That event ignited a spark," says mom Roberta Spradling. "She wanted to try all these new things, and she's not one to try new things."

New things? How about volleyball and softball and tennis and track and field and basketball? It's all fun.

"Danielle tries everything that interests her," says Roberta. "Special Olympics brought her out of her shell and she's just blossomed."

"There are kids there just like me," says Danielle. "I don't get teased, I don't get messed with. We're all the same, we work as teams, we're like a family."