50! Half of 100 which means it’s a milestone. A 50th anniversary wedding anniversary is a major milestone especially these days. Turning 50 years old was a bit confounding for me. A miracle that I lived that long with some of the stupid things I’ve done, but it was also hard to sink in, that I had moved to this part of my life.  

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When an organization turns 50, that’s really a SPECIAL milestone. Especially for Special Olympics Minnesota, which turns 50 this year. When you stop and think about all the people during that time who have been given an opportunity to compete in athletic events, to see what being a part of a team feels like and have help with developing social skills and physical activity, which for some is a challenge, that is an astounding number.  

In 2022, Special Olympics Minnesota hosted 41 competitions for over 5,700 athletes from across the state. 150 athletes, coaches and partners represented Minnesota in Orlando Florida at the USA Games last year as well.  

This number was Minnesota's largest in History and the competitors brought home medals of accomplishment but maybe more importantly, memories they’ll never forget.  

Another area of focus is health screenings for people with intellectual disabilities. This past year, Special Olympics Minnesota hosted their first ever Community Health Fair. Over 500 health screenings in six main areas along with 150 vaccinations were administered.  

On Thursday December 7th, Special Olympics Minnesota is hosting an event at Mall of America- Huntington Bank Rotunda, celebrating their 50th anniversary. December 7th is the actual anniversary date of their inception so it really will be a special day.  

It is going to be a fun filled night starting at 5pm with a community talent show featuring other talents of the athletes of the Special Olympics.

Then at 6pm, the public will get to look at how far Special Olympics participants have come through the years, hear from some of the Athletes themselves as they talk about how Special Olympics has impacted their lives and then look ahead to the future for what is in the works to continue gaining for more inclusion and the tearing down of walls that still need to be broken down for residents of Minnesota with Intellectual Disabilities.  

The night will wrap up with cupcakes from “Sammys Sweets”, an inclusive company operated by a Special Olympics athlete.  

If you’ve never been around athletes of the Special Olympics, this is an event that is worth your family's time.  You’ll definitely laugh, maybe cry a little but no doubt you’ll see Special Olympians differently.  


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