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Katie Botha, Senior Director of Development and Communications for Special Olympics Virginia uncovered a very special story for Healthy Athletes. She writes:

On February 8, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor welcomed Special Olympics Virginia athlete, Rose Pleskow to his office on Capitol Hill.  Four months later, on June 9, their roles were reversed as Pleskow helped show Cantor around her “office,” the Track & Field venue of Virginia’s Special Olympics Summer Games.

While in attendance at the Games, Cantor cheered on Rose as she competed and then visited the Awards podium where he awarded another athlete with a gold medal.  After competing, Rose accompanied Cantor and Special Olympics Virginia President, Rick Jeffrey inside to view the Healthy Athletes® program where hundreds of athletes received optometry, general fitness, dental and audiology exams later in the day.  In Virginia, the Healthy Athletes program is made possible thanks to generous grants from Special Olympics Incorporated and Lions Club International as well as Walmart Foundation, Owens & Minor, Bon Secours Richmond Health System, Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. and the Richmond Eye & Ear Foundation Fund.

“Rose and I reminded Eric how important Special Olympics’ health and education initiatives like Project UNIFY and Healthy Athletes are to the overall well-being of athletes in Virginia and the United States,” reports Rick Jeffrey. “We were pleased that he spent time with us to see how these programs positively impact his constituents.”

During further discussion with Jeffrey, Cantor was impressed to learn that Virginia House of Delegates representative, Roxann Robinson, currently serves as the Opening Eyes Clinical Director for Special Olympics Virginia’s Healthy Athletes program.  “Helping politicians to make connections between their world and ours is an important step,” notes Jeffrey,  “We’re hopeful that Eric will share this positive experience with his colleagues on the Hill as they consider reauthorization of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act.”

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