By Peyton Heller
Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern
Elizabeth Downs began to get involved in Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) when her cousin, Andrew Lawson, joined several years ago. “I became involved in Special Olympics through my cousin Andrew. I wanted to join his swimming events and just blown away by the excitement of athletes, coachesand spectators. ”
Elizabeth is part of 2017 Xtra Mile team to Falmouth Road Race. Since this is her third time running this race, she uses Andrews motivation to keep running. “This year, my motivation behind Falmouth is my cousin Andrew. Andrew has been an athlete in the Special Olympics for several years now. Over the last two years, he has struggled Cancer. He’s such a fighter! My aunt mentioned to me that Special Olympics had a team, and as soon as I was off the phone with her, I filled out my application. What better way to honor my friend than to run for just the organization that has given him so many wonderful, happy opportunities. ”
Elizabeth is running alongside her best friend, Jill Stone, who is also apart of the Xtra Mile team, and is very excited to have the opportunity to run this race again. “I have ridden Falmouth twice. The event is amazing. The audience is excellent. Just pray that it is not too hot !!! ”
While Elizabeth has continued to see Andrew compete in events over the years, her love for the Special Olympics has grown tremendously. She is grateful for the opportunities that Special Olympics has given Andrew. One word that comes to mind when I think of Special Olympics is “inspiring.” Special Olympics is a great organization. The opportunities they give their athletes are endless. I have been to several events and every time I see athletes compete, cheer on their teammates and receive their medals, I am left with a sense of absolute amazement. Another word that comes to mind when I think of Special Olympics is “community”. The sense of family that they have provided families with disabled children is something that most people are incredibly grateful for. ”
The inspiration Elizabeth gets from Andrew is not only related to running but also to her job. Elizabeth worked for North River Collaborative like a ABA Therapist after she graduated from college but became one inclusion teacher three years later. Since then she has worked at Cedar Elementary, switch between 2nd and 3rd grade. She thanks Andrew for inspiring her to become a teacher. “The inspiration to become a teacher was my cousin, Andrew Lawson. Andrew was born on March 19, 1990, and from the moment I met him, he aroused interest in his early intervention and therapies. I knew this was the path I wanted to pursue. Through Andrew’s parents, I was introduced to what Special Olympics was and how many wonderful opportunities it offers children with disabilities. ”
Special Olympics Massachusetts thank you for your support and wish you good luck on race day, Elizabeth!
Do you want to run Falmouth, cycle in Rodman Ride for Kids or a number of other races? Join in Xtra Mile Today!