May their lives go on

Last week I sat through a painful and emotional Zoom call. Over 250 people representing Special Olympics programs around the world watched videos and listened to the personal experiences and pleas from Special Olympics employees, family members, athletes, and others in our movement from Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, and Cameroon. I can’t find words that will do justice to what we saw and learned, but I can share words and thoughts that have stayed with me ever since.

What I learned: There are more than 1 million Ukrainian people with intellectual disabilities. It was reported that to date, over 250,000 of them remain in institutions that have been abandoned.

What I heard: Eva Gazova, National Director, Special Olympics Slovakia shared “None of us were prepared for this, but we have had to react. Ukraine will not give up. Special Olympics is providing athletes who are refugees two hours of sport as often as possible. The gift of these two hours is not only a gift to the athletes, but a gift to their moms, who are broken mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.”

What was instructed: The mother of a son with Autism who fled Ukraine told us “Please, everyone, live every moment of your life.”

No matter how difficult circumstances are for those who have been displaced or for those of us who can barely even imagine what that must be like, it remains true that Special Olympics will always provide moments of hope to those who are in need of it.

With tears in her eyes: a Ukrainian mom shared “Special Olympics is giving my son the chance to know his life will go on.”

With tears in mine: May that mother’s words inspire each of us to do something to help more lives go on in a better, safer, and more meaningful way.

Please note: Special Olympics New Mexico is in the process of learning exactly how we can help and will share that information once we have it.

1 Comment

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One response to “May their lives go on

  1. Doyle SYLING


    These children have been on my heart since this started. I pray the find peace, security and comfort during these difficult. Please let me know how I can help!


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