Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Kia Hill

#50for50: Volume 16
▪️ Kia Hill
▪️ 31 years old
▪️ Fairfax County, Virginia

“I joined Special Olympics in Fall 2007 and that allowed me to get into sports. I was doing soccer and basketball and I used to do track, too. It was new. I didn’t play sports before, so I had to learn and grow, like I’m doing now with skiing. I love to exercise. It’s good to stay active and it gives you something to do on the weekends. And I think it’s important to be outdoors more rather than be in the house. … Making friends is definitely one of my favorite things because it allows you to get involved with more people, you can do more things, you can travel more. And it also allowed me to meet my husband. We met through Special Olympics basketball practice. I don’t know why he doesn’t want to do basketball anymore because that’s how we met. But where he’s from, they have a lot of snow in Russia, so he did skiing when he was growing up and we’re doing that now. … I work at a daycare and I absolutely love it. It’s like my second home. I’ve been there over a year. My main room is with the 2- and 3-year-olds. When I’m in the infant room, I feed the babies their bottles, change their diapers, help them play with the toys. And I help them walk. … It’s really my dream to bring home two gold medals because I really feel deep inside like I need to show my family how much I really want to learn more skiing. And so if I bring them gold medals, they might have a change of heart. Or at least, I’m hoping. They don’t understand. And I tell my dad all the time that when you start skiing, your body heats up. But he doesn’t want to be out there in the cold. But the thing is, they won’t know until they do. Next year, I want to be able to do the longer races, so I need practice. Like, how to make the pizza with your skis, I still need work on that. … I’m a sweet, loving, caring person. I care about how everyone does. I just feel like everyone works so hard, so they deserve to get a medal.”

In Schuykill County, a special basketball scrimmage

The Shenandoah Sentinel provided awesome coverage of a recent basketball scrimmage between Schuykill County‘s team, the “Hoopsters” and the “Court Rats” Of Ehrlich Pest Control, Pottsville.

To read more about it and see more fantastic photos, follow this link.

Defending Unified Bocce state champs featured in CDT

Defending PIAA Unified Bocce state champions, Bald Eagle Area High School, recently advanced to the state championships for the second consecutive season and was featured in a piece in the Centre Daily Times.

From the piece: The Eagles’ Blue Team, which is comprised of four students with [intellectual disabilities] and four without, beat State College’s Maroon Team 8-2 at regionals. BEA made it to that point by cruising in the semifinals, with a 6-5 win after battling back from a 5-4 deficit.

To read the full piece and watch the video, follow this link.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Tyler Brown

#50for50: Volume 15
▪️ Tyler Brown
▪️ 22 years old
▪️ Northampton County

“I’m from right here in Easton and I am a volunteer firefighter with the Nancy Run Fire Company in Bethlehem Township. We take pride in what we do. We run about 1,000 calls a year. That’s everything from motor vehicle accidents to chimney alarms to car fires, house fires, all types of stuff. We also assist EMS with medical calls. They were a big help in making my dream happen. I suffer from a seizure history. I used to have 150-250 seizures a week as a kid due to sexual abuse as an infant. The doctor said I’d never reach that dream of wanting to be a firefighter. Here today I stand, 22 — even though I wasn’t supposed to live past 7 — with three years on the fire department and eight years seizure free. … I love what I do. We have our gear we have to have on in a minute or less. I’m not interior yet because I don’t have those credentials, but I’m exterior. I’m starting to learn how to hit the hydrants, I help clean the trucks and I respond and help with whatever I can help with, whether that’s assisting other firefighters on the hose line, or assisting them for getting other equipment they might need. I just love being a fireman. I take pride in it. … I’ve been doing the [Lehigh Valley] Polar Plunge since I was 11. Two years ago, Jim Regan from Team Caitlyn talked me into joining his team, so now I always come out and Plunge with them. I’m best friends with his daughter, Caitlyn so I have the privilege of doing this in honor of her. Some years it’s cold. This year it wasn’t really as cold, but it could be because I’ve been doing it forever so I’m used to the water temperature. I didn’t really feel the shock. I also did it the smart way. Once the boat ramp starts dropping, I did a dive. I was already completely under the water, so I didn’t really feel anything. … I played track & field at Liberty High School. It was fun and honestly now that I know you can do Special Olympics at any age, I’d literally sign up to do it again.”

2020 Pittsburgh Polar Plunge Recap

It goes without saying that the 10th Anniversary of the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge was going to be special. But we had no idea just how special. Over the course of the weekend, we saw more than 2,000 people take the Plunge into the pools outside of Heinz Field and we absolutely crushed our fundraising goal, which now sits at nearly $580,000 — a fundraising record for a Special Olympics Pennsylvania event! We had a record number of students and administrators participate in our Cool Schools Plunge on Friday and during Saturday’s main event saw more than 1,500 people take the leap on Leap Day!

Here’s a collection of all the press we received and we’d like to take this opportunity to say one gigantic thank you to everyone who played a role in making this possible!

Pittsburgh Tribune: Students hit the pool to raise funds for Special Olympics Pennsylvania

KDKA CBS Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Polar Plunge Raises More Than $500,000 For Special Olympics

WTAE Action News: ‘Freezing for a reason’: Pittsburgh Polar Plunge raises awareness, funds for Special Olympics

WPXI 11 News: 10th annual Pittsburgh Polar Plunge sets fundraising record

Shaler Journal: Shaler Area students prepare to take Special Olympics Polar Plunge