By Angie Jamie, Special Olympics Team USA mother
(in her own words)
Holy Cow! It’s an expression I use a lot…and have been using even more lately since it’s appropriate on so many levels! In August, we got news one of my twin daughters – Stephanie (19), had been selected to compete in skiing at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in South Korea! Holy Cow, this was huge news! She is one of just four athletes from North Carolina to get this honor! We spread her good news far and wide!
Every Saturday, the girls and I meet their grandparents (Joan and Ray Cress) at Chick-fil-A for a delicious breakfast before heading out for a fun morning of shopping. It’s become a tradition, one I’m so glad my parents started. The staff knows us and we feel at home there. When we told Stephanie’s news to Chris Pratt, the manager at our favorite Chick-fil-A in Winston-Salem, NC, he was excited and offered to help raise funds for Stephanie. He said he loved our family and wanted to do something special for her! To my amazement, the store held a Spirit Day on Nov. 9, 2012 in Stephanie’s honor with a percentage of the day’s sales being donated to Special Olympics. Holy Cow!
Chick-fil-A is just one example of the amazing support we’ve received from our community. It’s truly been overwhelming! In November, we were just floored when Doug Roberts, owner of the Ski & Tennis Station in Winston-Salem, donated skis, poles, bindings and boots molded especially for her feet to Stephanie! He really engaged Stephanie during the fitting too and had her talking and smiling. He’s very excited about her trip and wants updates while we are there.
The Bixby Fun Center & General Store in Advance has Stephanie’s photo plastered all over their walls. Kim, the owner, held a huge stew fundraiser one Saturday morning and I think our entire town came out for it. The employees at the Wal-Mart know us and tell us they’ve seen her on TV and ask us when she’s leaving and wish her luck every time we’re in there. Members of our church, our co-workers at Baptist Hospital – just everyone is extending their well wishes. It seems everyone wants to be connected and we are too happy to share in the excitement! This really is bigger than our family!
I’ve told Stephanie she is really serving as an ambassador for Special Olympics by competing in the World Games. And she knows that means try your best and just be your happy smiling, polite self! I’m so happy her selection has brought so much awareness and positive attention to Special Olympics! It’s such a great organization!
It’s been amazing to see how Stephanie’s confidence has grown since her selection. She’s really taken her selection to Special Olympics Team USA seriously. She is trying very hard to do her absolute best and make all of us proud. And we couldn’t be more proud and we’re not even there yet!
Stephanie is very excited! She has all her equipment ready to go. She’s just counting down the days. And best of all, her sister Jenifer has fully embraced her role as cheerleader. There’s no jealously at all. It’s just 100% “Go Stephanie”! We’re making spirit buttons and T-shirts. Stephanie will know we’re there for sure! We’re all just beyond excited!