The Healing Power Of Sports

By Nancy Bottelo
Wednesday - February 03, 2010 Share

By Nancy Bottelo, President
Special Olympics Hawaii

Born with a portion of her cerebellum undeveloped, “CW” was unable to walk as a child. During this time, her family found Special Olympics Hawaii and soon after CW entered her first wheelchair race. Inspired by the support from the Special Olympics community and her family, CW learned to walk with the aid of a device and competed in - and won - numerous assisted-walking events.

But after years of competing in Special Olympics Hawaii’s track and field races, CW wanted a new challenge. She set her sights on power-lifting. But with a rod implanted in her back and weighing just 100 pounds, CW was reluctantly granted permission by her doctor to begin training - with a broomstick.


Today, 10 years later, CW is a decorated competitor and familiar face among the state’s Special Olympics power-lifters. She regularly dead-lifts 60 pounds, the equivalent of hundreds of broomsticks.

Special Olympics Hawaii athletes, like the boys on this basketball team, gain physical fitness, self-confidence and hope through competing

Over the last 42 years, Special Olympics Hawaii has touched the lives of more than 2,175 athletes across the state, and each individual has his or her own story of overcoming challenges and demonstrating courage both on and off the field. Our athletes participate in year-round sports training and competition, developing physical fitness, building self-confidence and gaining a spirit of hope that carries over into every aspect of their lives.

Special Olympics Hawaii’s programming costs approximately $850 per athlete annually, and all of it is provided at no cost to athletes or their families. We are currently planning our second annual Polar Plunge, a fundraiser that asks participants who raise a minimum of $100 to take a dip in ice-cold, 37-degree water on March 6 at Restaurant Row at Waterfront Plaza. We continuously ask our athletes to push themselves, and this is a great opportunity for Hawaii residents to push their own limits.

To sign up for the Polar Plunge or for more information on Special Olympics Hawaii, please visit or call 943-8808.


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