Special Olympics athlete Stacey Johnston of Spokane, Washington has certainly left her mark within the Special Olympics family during her 27 years of participation. She has competed in 17 sports, earned numerous medals, served as a member of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors and an International Global Messenger, and has also served on the World Games Site Selection Committee. She has traveled the world representing Special Olympics, meeting with world leaders and government officials. And if that’s not enough, in 2010, she was named Special Olympics Montana athlete of the year because she is an athlete who epitomizes the spirit of a true winner by her willingness to help others while also displaying outstanding courage and sportsmanship.
But today, Stacey is now leaving a mark on another family: the Gleasons. In 1997, Ginny and Ron Gleason met Stacey through their volunteer work with Special Olympics. Ever since they were married in 2002, Ginny and Ron have considered Stacey an “unofficial” part of their family. But Stacey and the Gleasons decided they wanted to make it official. On December 28, 2011, the adoption papers were signed allowing Ron and Ginny to officially adopt Stacey as part of their family. Stacey is now Stacey Johnston-Gleason and will going forward celebrate two birthdays – December 28 and the day of her birth.
“When I started Special Olympics, I started my life,” Stacey said. “Before that I didn’t really have a purpose. I just didn’t know what I was going to do.” Now, 27 years later, Stacey can say she has a purpose and a family all because of the Special Olympics Movement.