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Inspiring Stories

Six young male special Olympians standing in line celebrating
Photo of Toni Gonzalez running

Photo of Toni Gonzalez special Olympian

 

Photo of Toni Gonzalez receiving trophy

 

Photo of Toni Gonzalez with family

 

Special Olympics Created a CAN-DO Attitude!

"Oh, I can't do that." No one has heard Toni Gonzalez utter those words in a very long time. Her participation in Special Olympics has given her the confidence to take on more than she ever thought possible.

"Toni grew up in a time when special needs kids were separated," says mom Theresa. "Special Olympics has made her feel she belongs."

Toni started bowling with Special Olympics and did so well that she decided to tackle race walking. Her coaches encouraged her to take up running. She wasn't so sure at first if she could do it, then put her doubts aside and hit the track. She started running the 50 meter dash, pushed on to the 100, then to the 200 and now also runs the 4 x 100 meter relay. Can-do!

Theresa and Rafael, Toni's parents, often volunteer at the first-aid station when they're not cheering Toni on to victory; sister Mariah coaches.

"We did a video montage for Toni's 40th birthday party that included her long history with Special Olympics," says Theresa. "It's been the highlight of her life."