Special Olympics athletes receive check from Wal-Mart

  • By Amy Daybert Enterprise editor
  • Tuesday, January 6, 2009 2:07pm

Special Olympics athletes throughout the state will continue to receive free health tests and screenings this year, thanks in part to a donation by Wal-Mart.

Special Olympics Washington (SOWA) athletes Anthony Fatica, Mona Jones and Holly Wicklander, of the Shoreline Shore Lions, received a check for $10,000 on behalf of SOWA for the Healthy Athletes program on Dec. 10 at Sam’s Club on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.

“I was crying,” Launa Hoy, SOWA community relations manager, said on Jan. 5. “I absolutely feel strongly about this program. We have a good opportunity to ensure some help for our athletes.”

The Healthy Athletes program offers on-site health assessments and fitness education conducted by professional doctors and clinicians of optometry, hearing and dentistry, podiatry and physical fitness. The money will help SOWA purchase equipment such as scales, hearing machines and blood pressure cuffs, according to Hoy.

“It will help us with the little things,” Hoy said. “I think $10,000 is a very large, generous donation with the way times are. There are so many good nonprofits out there and we are very honored to be the recipients of such a gift.”

In 2008, the Wal-Mart Foundation’s State Giving program gave $715,000 in grants ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, according to Jennifer Spall, Wal-Mart public affairs manager for Washington state. Over 60 nonprofit organizations were recipients of grant money, she added.

“Any organization that is 501c3 is eligible,” Spall said. “We looked for applications in areas of health, job programs and general community outreach. Late in the year we were really looking at supporting basic community needs, given the economy.”

Wal-Mart is also a sponsor of the 2009 Special Olympics World Games in Boise, Idaho, where 14 athletes who make up Team SOWA, will compete in February.

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