“Together, We Are Special Olympics”

Tyler Lagasse, a great all-around young man who is also a Special Olympics athlete, gave another incredible speech on Friday, November 18 at the House of Blues Boston at “Red, White, and Bid” , a fundraising event. Please take 7 minutes to watch and be inspired. It gets especially good when he starts quoting, “Dead Poet’s Society”:

Here is the transcript of the speech:

Good evening, and welcome to the city of Boston for the 2011 “Red, White, & Bid” to benefit Special Olympics Massachusetts. Let me say that it is an honor to be back in “Beantown” to speak to you all here again, and to be a part of this “special” fundraiser for this organization that has changed my life. Before I get to my main topic, I want to talk about one of my many special moments from the year 2011. This past summer, my Mom, my Dad, and myself got to travel to Iowa to attend a charity golf tournament to benefit autism awareness and make a speech there. I golfed in a foursome with people I never met before and on one hole I had to attempt a birdie putt from 73 feet, 7 inches. We were most likely going to end up with either a par or a bogey. Instead I ended up making the birdie putt. Not only did I make the putt, I won myself a pair of new golf shoes because I happened to have made the putt on the longest putt hole. That putt is an example of what people living with autism can do.

I owe my gifts and abilities to Special Olympics. They are the reason why I’m as successful as I can be. Thanks to them, some of my speeches have made their way into the internet. Also I got to be on The Golf Channel’s “Golf in America”, and I got to go to Iowa because someone there saw me on that show.

Because of all this, miracles truly do happen. You make them happen for not just me, but for the many athletes of Special Olympics. All of you standing before me on this Friday night in November have an obligation. Your obligation is to make a difference in the lives of those whom ½-century ago would be shut out of society for who they were and who they were not. Thanks to Special Olympics, the thousands of athletes get to display something that not one of them thought they had, COURAGE. I encourage you to display courage in and out of your place of work.

Here are four ways to make a difference in the lives of the Special Olympians. 1.) Being here at the “Red, White, & Bid” is a good place to start because the money being raised from this event is going to the programs and other Special Olympic sporting events. 2.) Being involved at the local level such as the volunteering, coaching, fundraising, and attending such Special Olympic fundraisers as the Jolly Jaunt, Polar Plunge, Over the Edge, and the Golf-a-thon. Those events are worthwhile and help Special Olympics immensely because they rely heavily on fundraisers to keep their programs going. 3.) I encourage you to be mentors at work and have your company or business hire those that have participated in sporting events for Special Olympics in the past. 4.) Encourage your fellow co-workers to sponsor events for Special Olympics.

There is this scene in the movie “The Dead Poets Society” where Robin Williams, the most gifted actor of his time, goes on and on about reading and writing poetry. He states that “we don’t read and write poetry because it is cute; we read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Now let me ask you something. Why do we get involved with Special Olympics? We don’t get involved to make money, or to see who wins and who loses, or to see which Special Olympic athlete will be the first pick of the draft in any sport. We get involved because those Special Olympic athletes are members of the human race just like you are. Now all of you Special Olympics supporters may have backgrounds in management, technology, science, medicine, law and other professions outside of sports. Those are all and I quote from Robin Williams “noble pursuits” and “necessary to sustain life”. But Special Olympics, grace, compassion, character, goodwill; those are the things that we stay alive for.

Let me wrap up my speech by including some words of wisdom. Remember that generosity is not just the lifeblood of Special Olympics; it is an essential tool for humankind. Your generosity will only take you so far. Together we can make a difference. Together we are the Special Olympics.

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