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Moms of Special Olympics Athletes are Rockstars

By Isabel Kallman

Last week, I shared how Procter & Gamble (a 31 year sponsor of the Special Olympics) is honoring the moms of the Special Olympics athletes by supporting their sons and daughters with a gift of $250,000 to local programs and services. P&G is also ready to double that gift with your help. For every new “like,” fan or comment (showing support to the Special Olympic athletes) on the Thank You Mom Facebook page, P&G will donate an additional $1 to support Special Olympics Team USA’s journey to the Athens games, up to $250,000. If you haven’t shown your support yet, please do so. I’ll wait until you come back….

Over the course of the next several weeks I will be introducing you to Carol McMullen, she is the mom of Special Olympics athlete Christopher McMullen who is a member of Team USA and competing in the Athens World Games as a swimmer. Carol is such a superstar that I can’t wait to share hers and Christopher’s stories with you. I had lunch with her this week and I was almost late at school pickup because I couldn’t tear myself away from hearing her story of starting and coaching her own Special Olympics swim team, one with which her son Christopher trains.

As I sat at lunch the words of The Special Olympics CEO, Tim Shriver, echoed back to me:

A mother is a first fan. A mother is someone who believes you have a gift. For our moms– moms of kids with special needs– they have to believe when other people, one way or another tell them not to. A lot of the messages that come to a mom who has a child with a special need is that your child doesn’t, will not, can’t, won’t… doesn’t have capabilities, doesn’t have the chance to contribute to their community. Most mothers tell me that they still hear that, people say “oh, I’m sorry.” And those mothers in the face of all of that negative energy look their child in the eye and say “I believe in you. You’ve got a gift.” So this lesson is that mothers, this is what they do… they believe in you. They see a gift. And our mothers are the best mothers in the world for proving that lesson. They see the gift even when other people tell them no.

Thank You Mom by P&GCarol explained to me having been a competitive swimmer in college and a lifeguard she knew her son Christopher was a talented swimmer as a young child. Yet despite having been a member of the summer swim team, for years Christopher was not accepted onto the competitive winter team at the local Y because of his special needs; Christopher has autism.

Carol being the resourceful mother she had learned to become enrolled Christopher in a Special Olympics swim team 40 minutes from her home and with the encouragement and help of Christopher’s older teenage brother eventually started her own competitive Special Olympics swim team. That swim team– The Marlins– is now the biggest team in New Jersey, trains 36 swimmers from ages eleven to 48 years old and is sending two athletes (including Christopher) to the World Games in Athens. Go Carol!

Before I send you over to the Thank You, Mom Facebook page to encourage you to lend your support, let me leave you with another quote by Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver about the Thank You, Mom program:

[It’s] celebrating the women who are so frequently the first persons to say “I will not buy into the idea that there are some people who are gifted and someone people who are not. I will not buy into the idea that my child isn’t great.” And in doing that, in believing in that child with Down Syndrome, or with Autism, or with any kind of a difference, that mother sends a message not just to her child but to the world that everybody counts.

I say Amen to that.

This post has been sponsored by Procter & Gamble as part of their Thank You, Mom program. All opinions are my own and I think P&G is the bee’s knees for supporting the Special Olympics. You get a gold medal from me P&G.

Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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