Melissa Reilly, 28, of Boxborough was recently honored at Gillette Stadium during the Special Olympics Massachusetts State Flag Football Championships with the “Samantha Marcia Stevens Award”. The award is presented to honor excellence in raising positive awareness for the skills and strengths of people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.
Reilly is an accomplished Special Olympics athlete. She has given numerous speeches including the keynote address at the 2009 Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress and the 2012 Special Olympics Massachusetts Hall of Fame. A graduate of Acton-Boxborough High School and a student at Middlesex Community College, Melissa is on staff in the office of State Senator Jamie Eldridge. Melissa has also been inducted into the Special Olympics Massachusetts Hall of Fame in 2010.
The award was presented by Brian and Kathryn Stevens, advocates from Marlborough, who named the award after their daughter Samantha, an eight-year old with Down syndrome. “If it were not for heroes like Melissa Reilly, my Wife and I’s charitable endeavors may have gone differently,” said Brian Stevens, “she has inspired us to be even better and donate even more to the programs that enhance her, as well as Samantha’s life.”
Previously the Stevens family had presented this award to Lauren Potter, an actress with Down syndrome who stars in the television series, Glee.