Sheila Gafney is a long-time friend of our Club (the annual Charlie Gafney award is named after her father, long member of this Club) and came to us today to speak about Special Olympics, focus of one of our group’s longstanding recurrent activities and donations. Their two major event-related fundraisers are the Lois Craig Run (part of the Crim Festival of Races) and the Polar Plunge into Lake Fenton. These provide the Special Olympics with approximately $135,000 for their budget. Some is split with the State Special Olympics, and the rest is used for Area 13 athletes outfitting, transportation, training, and participation costs. with such events as alpine skiing and hockey running into high figures very quickly. As we know from our work with SO, the young athletes benefit in a lot of ways from their participation, but some of them take on amazing and incredible experiences: one athlete from Lapeer is going to Abu Dhabi to compete in the World Games as a swimmer (at a cost of $10,000, provided by private donations)! Additionally, a “unified” Canadian/American team had been established for basketball, mixing Special Olympics and non-Special Olympics youth on the same team. 150 youth are sent to State-level competition from our area, and we look forward to the annual Softball Throw event on May 24.

Steve Schlott passed cards among the 16 attendees for signatures to be sent to Margaret Cullen, who continues to fight through her exhaustion from her cancer and treatment for it, and the family of our beloved longstanding member George Kitchen, who passed yesterday after a long and valiant period of leading a good and vibrant life despite his cancer-related complications. Please keep these folks and Peter and Ellen Venos in your thoughts and prayers.

My apologies for having less humorous content in this week’s news, but filling in at the podium for our vacationing President Phil Holmblade means that I have difficulty keeping track of fines and discussion while I am up front and at least as much difficulty recalling the information after I step away.

Until next time, “Promise Yourself…