If you’ve ever rounded up your online order at Domino’s Pizza and donated the change to charity you are probably more involved in the Paralympic games then you think.
The spare change you chose to send to Special Olympics GB has helped them grow their programmes and support athletes as they develop their ability and talents. And these athletes are reaching great heights, with two selected to take part in the Paralympic games kicking off tomorrow.
1,500 metre athlete Stephen Morris and table tennis player Victoria Bromley are part of a 295 strong team in the line-up for this round of games and SOGB have played a crucial part in their journey to get there.
Having been turned away from football teams when he was young, Stephen, who has an intellectual disability, joined SOGB and developed a passion for long distance running. Since then he has collected a number of medals, including silver and bronze at the 2005 Glasgow Games, a gold at 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, two golds at the 2008 National Indoor Athletics competition and two silver and a gold at the 2009 Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Leicester.
Despite his globe-trotting, Stephen is still known to residents in the area of Cardiff where he lives and trains. Local shopkeepers even say they can set their clocks by the sight of Stephen on his daily early morning running circuit.
“Training is lots of hard work, but I can cope with it,” says Stephen. “I feel like running all the time. I’m really up for it.”
Special Olympics GB have provided Stephen with regular coaching and competition so he could develop his talent and become an elite athlete with a disability. Excelling at sport also hugely increased Stephen’s self-confidence and motivation, helping him to complete college and achieve employment in a workshop.
“Without the support, guidance and inspiration that Special Olympics GB has provided, he would never have been able to accomplish so much,” Stephen’s mother Karen explained.
And the choice made by hundreds of thousands people to donate just a few pennies online at Domino’s has contributed a huge amount, adding up to over £210,000 for SOGB so far. With more athletes joining the SOGB programme every year, your donations could be helping to develop the next generation of elite Paralympians.