"Challenge Day" in Cedar Falls offers sports for disabled athlet - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"Challenge Day" in Cedar Falls offers sports for disabled athletes

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - RaeAnn Swanson spent part of her weekend with her younger brother, Thomas, at "Challenge Day."

The day is devoted to helping athletes with disabilities so severe they can't participate in the Special Olympics.

"It's hard for Thomas to compete in traditional sports in school, and so this is an outlet for Thomas to do the things that you know he wants to do," said Swanson.

53 athletes participated in Saturday's "Challenge Day" at Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls.

Director of Athlete Initiatives for Special Olympics Iowa, Kathy Irving, said a lot of work went into preparing the day.

"So often people look at this population and think they don't know what's going on around them. I guarantee you 95% of the people in this room today -- the athletes -- know exactly. They just can't control their bodies. They can't communicate," she said.

Irving said "Challenge Days" started in 1994 in Clear Lake, and there are now 9 in the state.

For families like the Swansons, it's important.

"It's inspirational to see everybody here," said Swanson.

Irving said the next "Challenge Day" is scheduled for May 31 in Carroll.

She encourages those who are interested in volunteering or helping fund the activities to visit the Special Olympics Iowa website: http://soiowa.org/
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