New Special Olympics and GoFundMe Global Partnership Makes Games More Accessible for All

By Casey Sudzina, @CaseySudzina

As part of the new partnership with the Special Olympics, GoFundMe will create pages on the site for athletes heading to the 2017 Special Olympic Winter Games. Image via GoFundMe

As part of the new partnership with the Special Olympics, GoFundMe will create pages on the site for athletes heading to the 2017 Special Olympic Winter Games. Image via GoFundMe

Recently, the Special Olympics and GoFundMe announced a new global partnership. The partnership will involve GoFundMe creating fundraising pages for athletes heading to the 2017 Special Olympic Winter Games in Austria, March 15- 24.

So far, there has been over 500 campaigns created, for both teams and single athletes alike.

Of the funds raised, 50 percent will go to local athletes, 25 percent will go to international hopefuls, and the final 25 percent will go towards helping the games’ organizers put on the games.

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With the costs of travel, coaches, training, and equipment, it is estimated that about $2,500 per athlete is needed.

In a moving and personal way to connect with these individuals, each GoFundMe page has a picture of the athlete or team with a description of their own personal story.

Over 500 profiles have been created and many of them look similar to Jagriti's. Image via GoFundMe

Over 500 profiles have been created and many of them look similar to Jagriti's. Image via GoFundMe

Many Olympic champions, such as Simone Biles and Apolo Ohno, have been active in this initiative.

Athletes can “sponsor” one of the 500 campaigns, as well as actively advocate the other campaigns, as they did in the campaign's launch video.

One athlete, Hannah Teter, has partnered with Dana Shilts, a competitor in the Special Olympics who she met at the Special Olympics Winter Games in South Korea four years ago. There, Shilts won a gold medal.

“She has overcome so many obstacles. Growing up, bullies made her feel her disability was way worse than it really was," Teter said on Shilts' page. "She almost gave up, feeling that she shouldn’t even try because no one would ever accept her for her. Then she found a sense of freedom, an escape. She found snowboarding.”

Teter (left) and Shilts (right) at Shilts' debut in the X Games. Photo via Sports Illustrated Kids

Teter (left) and Shilts (right) at Shilts' debut in the X Games. Photo via Sports Illustrated Kids

GoFundMe CEO, Rob Solomon, explained the partnership saying, “GoFundMe's mission is to empower people to help people, and Special Olympics has been helping to empower people with intellectual disabilities for almost 50 years. It's an honor to share the stories of these competitors who have overcome obstacles."

With this partnership, it is wonderful to see a global platform helping athletes in need. Together, we can all help these athletes overcome their personal obstacles and change their lives.

If you would like to make a donation or learn more about the campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/specialolympics

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