Meet Stephen Graham
Stephen Graham was born a premature baby. As a toddler, he showed noticeable communication impediments, including a speech delay. He had a difficult time in his early years of school— “he knew he was different and didn’t feel comfortable. He was often teased.”
In February 1997 he watched his cousin Joe compete in speed skating at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Toronto, Ontario. “What an experience that was – the entire atmosphere was electric. The support, the encouragement, the friendship shown by everybody – were all something we wanted Stephen to be a part of,” says his mother Elaine.
Flash forward to 2002 and Stephen was the first member of the Special Olympics speed skating club in Orillia, where he trained diligently and qualified to compete at the Barrie regionals in 2003. In 2009, he won two gold and one silver medal at the Idaho World Winter Games! This feat earned him the Special Olympics Ontario Male Athlete of the Year title and he had the honor of carrying the Olympic Torch through Gravenhurst, Ontario at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. It was a life-changing experience for Stephen.
“It’s not the 30 seconds on the ice that gets you a medal. It’s what it takes to get you there” says Elaine. The time and support of dedicated coaches, the hours of practice, the venues and competitions where lifelong memories are made… and even just a sturdy pair of skates— this is all made possible by incredible donors and supporters like you.
Elaine says, “Thank you for helping my son achieve his full potential. Thank you for giving Stephen the confidence to succeed. Thank you for the many unforgettable moments and experiences that he can now cherish forever. […] Where would he be without your help?”
You are the heroes that help push Stephen and thousands of other athletes to achieve their dreams. And this October, you once again have a chance to become someone’s hero.
We hope you will join us at the third annual Guardians Half Marathon & 5K for an opportunity to unite with other athletes, push your own limits, and support a truly life-changing cause. You may even have the opportunity to meet Stephen in person, as he has participated in this event every year!
Your fundraising helps make the dreams of athletes, like Stephen, come true.