Special Olympics Nevada works to raise funds to avoid future cuts

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After days of backlash, President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he was no longer requesting cuts to the funding for Special Olympics.  The organization was at risk of losing almost $18 million.

To put things into perspective Nevada’s chapter would have lost $125,000.

Local fundraising efforts are underway to avoid being affected by future cuts.

“I love it,” Elizabeth Heaworth said about participating as an athlete in the Special Olympics.

Heaworth just came back from a trip of a lifetime.  The bowler, who also goes by Lizzy, traveled to Abu Dhabi for the World Games.

“This is for singles, 3rd place, and then 4th for doubles with my partner,” she said as she showed off her medals.  

Heaworth has been with the organization for six years.  The state of Nevada is a part of northern California’s branch, but they want to become independent.

“This is just going to allow us to offer more opportunities for our local athletes,” said Terrence Thornton, the executive director for the Special Olympics Nevada. 

Thornton was hired a month ago, and his main priority is fundraising enough money to break away from northern California.  Aside from expanding their programs, they want to offer more sports.

“One of the sports that is not a Special Olympics sports right now is hockey, and I can see some very good opportunities for us to connect with the Golden Knights,” said Thornton. 

Thornton says they need an operating budget of $1.5 to $1.7 million.  They’ve currently had about one million.

“Northern California would like me to meet that goal within three to five years,” said Thornton.  “I think that’s very doable. Quite honestly I’m thinking I want to have that goal met in about a year and a half to two years at most.” 

He’s appealing to local corporations for donations to better-serve athletes like Lizzy.

“I’m glad I did join,” Heaworth said. “I met a lot of nice friends. Got to go on two trips which were really fun and just experience everything, having a good time.”

To learn more about Special Olympics Nevada go here.

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