Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Lily Malatak

#50for50: Volume 22
▪️ Lily Malatak
▪️ 11 years old
▪️ Allegheny County

As told by Lily’s mother, Amy Malatak: “When she’s in a crowd of more than a couple people, she likes to sit back and watch people first. The first couple of times at practice, she just kind of watched. But the more she did it, the more she loved it. Now she knows everyone by name, has friends, gets excited about going every week. She plays soccer, basketball and track & field, but basketball is definitely her favorite. She gets so excited for the chance to win a medal. She thinks that’s the best thing ever. She’s never really had a fear of anything, but I think being in the competition aspect of it gives her confidence that I’m not sure was there before. … The athletes are just an amazing group of people. The volunteers and parents all work so well together, it’s just really a great organization to be a part of. Everyone gets so excited about it, which makes the athletes get excited. … This was going to be our first year doing Summer Games, but unfortunately it was cancelled. We’ve been getting emails from the coaches to keep in touch. And encouraged to do the workouts that are put on Facebook. A lot of parents have done Zoom meetings, but it’s hard for the athletes for sure. … We have our good days and bad days. Lily doesn’t quite get it. She’s used to going out and doing things and not really understanding why she can’t is hard. The longer it goes on, the harder it is for her. It’s hard for her not to be in her routine. And it’s hard to keep a routine in a situation like this. We go on daily walks and she brings her stroller with her doll in it. She loves swinging on the swing set, so we ended up purchasing a swing for one of our trees. She’s on that almost every single day. That has been a new routine.”

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Special Olympics Pennsylvania

The mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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