Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Amy Kochanowski

#50for50: Volume 29
▪️ Amy Kochanowski
▪️ 32 years old
▪️ Beaver County

“My first lessons were my mom teaching me how to swim, how to use my arms and swim good. I’ve been practicing forever. I love it. It’s my favorite sport. I do the 25 free and 50 back and the 25 breast and the relay. My first sport was swimming, then basketball and then track. Then speed skating, then soccer, then bocce, then snowshoeing, then bowling. I’ve been doing Special Olympics for 22 years. I have a rare medical disorder called panhypopituitarism. It’s an endocrine disorder. My endocrine system doesn’t work at all. Everything is synthetic. I get tired a lot, I get tired at events. But sometimes I just take a little rest and then go back to competing. … I do the rocks for awareness. I’ve painted more than 1,500 rocks, maybe 2,000 rocks. We put a label on them that says ‘Beaver County Special Olympics Pennsylvania’ and then hide them in different areas of the state. Then people find them and say where they found them and hide them again. They’ve actually traveled all over the world. Paris, Italy, King Tut’s tomb, the Great Wall of China. They’ve created global awareness for Special Olympics. There’s a Facebook page for people to go and say where they found them. I find all the rocks in creeks. I go up to Erie and find rocks there. I like the flat ones. They’re easier to paint that way. … I did the Beaver Polar Plunge this year. I loved it. I love the people and I love going in the water. Our team raised around $23,000 this year. Some years the water has been frozen and they’ve had to break the ice but this year it wasn’t cold. I put my knees in and came back out. I love the fundraising because it helps raise awareness for Special Olympics and helps us go on trips. I love the Torch Run, too. Every time they come out, I get so excited. … I love all my coaches and friends in Special Olympics. I was a little overwhelmed at first, being around that many people and being from a small community. But it made me grow as a person. It taught me to be social and taught me what competition was about. I love the gold medals. I get to the end, I speed fast and I get so excited when I win first place. I have about 50 pounds of medals at home. I’m very happy. I’m a happy person. I get along with people. I’m glad. I want to be in Special Olympics forever. I love my friends and coaches. They take care of me. My mom is a coach, too, and she takes care of me all the time.”

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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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