By Emme Punches,
Special Olympics Massachusetts Events Coordinator
Special Olympics Massachusetts is excited to have one of our own running the 2017 Boston Marathon. Rachel Dill, Director of Development and Partnerships, is an inspiration to us all. Her dedication, heart and ambition are unparalleled and while we could rave about her all day, we thought it best she tell her story in her own words.
“Six years ago, I had the crazy idea that I wanted to run a marathon before I turned 30. It couldn’t be just any marathon, it had to be Boston. Fast forward to today and it just so happens that the 2017 Boston Marathon falls exactly one month before my 30th birthday. Running the marathon has been in the back of my mind every year for the last six years and I knew that one day I would follow through on this personal goal.
“My connection to Special Olympics Massachusetts runs deep. My sister Jenny has special needs. She is 31 years old and has a developmental delay and learning disability. Jenny is one of the most kind and compassionate individuals I know and never fails to put a smile on my face no matter the circumstance.
Jenny & Rachel celebrating Jenny’s 31st birthday at her favorite Thai restaurant!!
“Jenny started competing in track and field with Special Olympics Massachusetts when she was ten years old. (This happens to be the same time I became involved and became president of the Jenny Dill Fan Club.) As we grew older, she continued to participate and I evolved from spectator, to volunteer, to fundraiser, and finally to a dedicated staff member at Special Olympics Massachusetts. For as long as I can remember, I have seen what a positive impact sports has had on my sister. Sports has helped Jenny develop better fitness, expanded her endless social circle, encouraged her to have confidence, and allowed her to experience the pure joy and excitement of winning a medal after a competition. She has taught me so much about myself and the importance of accepting others regardless of their situation. Jenny has truly shaped the person I am today. Having a sister with special needs has only enhanced my experience of one of the most amazing bonds in life: sisterhood.”
All of us at Special Olympics Massachusetts can’t wait to cheer her on as she crosses the Boston Marathon finish line. Go Rachel!
Support Rachel’s Boston Marathon Fundraising Effort Today!
By Keri Mandell, who’s running the 2015 Boston Marathon for Special Olympics Massachusetts.
When I started to think about this month’s theme of Love, I reflected on what love means to me and the role love plays in my life. For me, love is about discovering what we value most in our hearts, minds, and souls and finding ways to share it with the world. Loving and being loved are what make our lives worth living: it gives us energy to get up each day and keep going. It gives our lives purpose and meaning. To love and to be loved is a wonderful gift. more
More on Team Special Olympics Massachusetts here
Greg Schwartz and his mother Patti talk about the Boston Marathon. Greg is a Special Olympics athlete who’s running in the 2015 Boston Marathon. Find out more about the team and see how you can help here
Running has been at the nucleus of Molly Parshley’s life for over 10-years. She has spent countless hours training and competing in running and is now helping athletes develop a passion for the sport as a Special Olympics coach. Although she has never run a marathon, Molly jumped at the chance to be part of Team SOMA in the 2012 Boston Marathon; she was honored to take on the physical challenge to benefit an organization close to her heart. Molly is anxious to join over 25,000 runners along with the six other members of Team SOMA at the starting line on April 16th to trek 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to the Back Bay to raise money for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Continue reading
Jay O’Brien has a unique passion and energy for life that compels him to take on extraordinary challenges. For 12 years he has had a personal passion for running and has trained and competed in 12 marathons; 10 of which have been the Boston Marathon. As a veteran of the world’s oldest and most prestigious 26.2 mile race, Jay stays motivated in his pursuit by another personal calling: contributing to a better way of life for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Towards that end, this will be the fourth year Jay is running as part of the select, seven-member Boston Marathon “Team SOMA” to raise money for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Continue reading
Cory Mathieson has first-hand experience proving that through will and determination you can accomplish anything you set out to achieve. He proved this to himself by demonstrating he could run the entire Boston Marathon course after being dared by friends. This was an amazing accomplishment for Cory who had an accident that caused him to struggle with running and walking when he was 19-years old. After having his own children, Cory was inspired by their energy to begin running and training which caused him to seek out running races. Now he is entering extreme races that put his physical abilities to the test. The first challenge embark on is officially running the Boston Marathon. Continue reading
Sam Oliver is looking to take on one of the greatest challenges of his life when he joins 25,000 additional runners at the starting line of the historic Boston Marathon on April 16th. The grueling 26.2 mile race will be his first-ever marathon but he feels prepared due to intense training he has endured over the past year; particularly the last three months. Sam will be running as part of the elite, Team SOMA where he and his six teammates will race to raise money for Special Olympics athletes’ training, competition and health education. Being part of this prestigious team and the chance to provide a better way of life to those who overcome incredible obstacles each day has helped Sam remain motivated on tough training days. Continue reading