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A Special Olympic Athlete's Road to Gold

Spirit, Courage, and Resolve - A Special Olympic Athlete's Road to Gold, by Tom Lambke, is a father's story that takes us along on the the adventures of a father-son bowling team chosen to represent the USA at the 2003 Special Olympic World Games in Ireland. The story leading up to and including that event is told with great warmth and honesty.

It is fortunate for those of us who reap the benefits of the efforts of individuals with Down syndrome and their families who created real change in the hearts and minds of their communities to understand that we share many of the same challenges that could have deterred those who came before us.

The history of the Special Olympics is as compelling as the stories of the athletes that have participated along the way. Our sons and daughters are exposed to great life lessons while striving to reach the athletic goals that each sport inspires. Coaches and family members learn more about the athletes and their capacity for greatness, teamwork, personal discipline and motivation than would be possible in other venues.

It was a pleasure to be invited into their home, and to share stories of the sport, their travels and family life through Tom Lambke's book. The simple pleasures of ordinary life that most new parents do not take for granted for their children with Down syndrome are offered as an inspiration to look forward into the future with hope and determination.

Tom's son, the athlete Bryan Lambke, has co-authored his own book, I Just Am, that is an honest and forthright expression of what it means to have Down syndrome. My son immediately tucked it into his bus travel bag to show his job coach, case manager, and friends. He supports his peers with Down syndrome who also have a great deal to share about themselves and their perceptions of the world.

The recent passing of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver has reminded all of us whose families have been transformed by the opportunities opened up by Special Olympics programs and the athletes who have distinguished themselves there. Eunice Shriver gave credit for her inspiration and accomplishements to her older sister Rosemary, who was born with mild developmental disability in a time when the opportunities we take for granted today had not been imagined.

Browse at your local bookstore, public library or online retailer for other books about Special Olympicsand Special Olympics athletes to strengthen local programs, celebrate diversity, and find ideas on creating a more inclusive community supportive of Special Olympic athletes and their families.

Special Olympics USA
http://www.specialolympics.org

Praise for Eunice Kennedy Shriver from Pioneering Parents
http://www.patriciaebauer.com/2009/08/14/pioneers/

Throngs Mourn Eunice Kennedy Shriver
http://www.patriciaebauer.com/2009/08/14/mourners-honor/

See the Question and Answer Exchange with Greg Palmer author of Adventures in the Mainstream, Coming of Age with Down Syndrome

Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome: A Guide to Emotional and Behavioral Strengths and Challenges

Melissa Riggio Made a Difference
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art56423.asp

Dads of Babies with Disabilities
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art57124.asp

Grandfathers and Great Uncles
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art51398.asp

I received a free copy of both books for this review - thank you!
http://www.bellaonline.com/misc/ethics.asp

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