Special Olympics Hawaii has forever changed the lives of Kaili and her mom, Dari. Twelve years ago, when Kaili first joined Special Olympics, getting her into a pool to practice swimming was a challenge. Swimming fifteen yards with the help of a floatation device was her introduction to the amazing accomplishment that lay ahead for her. Kaili now wins medals competing in all four swimming strokes and has even won a gold medal in the 100 Individual Medley.
With her share of health challenges, Special Olympics Hawaii provides the support system and the environment for Kaili to exercise without her knowing it and to participate and compete in sporting events. Most importantly, when she is practicing, competing or just hanging out with her fellow athletes, she can be herself without judgement, without ridicule, without disappointment or fear of failure. She has learned how to work hard during practices and work towards a goal. Kaili has become a supportive teammate, a compassionate winner and a good sport no matter what the outcome.
Special Olympics Hawaii has also been an amazing support system for Kaili’s mom, Dari. Raising a child with an intellectual disability is challenging and knowing that others understand your struggles helps lightens the load. Dari’s mom says, “I know what other athletes’ parents go through, just as they know what I go through. We don't have to pretend to hold it together or to be perfect parents. We share what works and what doesn't work. For all that Special Olympics is for Kaili and myself, is why I don't hesitate to give back.” Dari has participated in fundraisers and coaching and is always humbled by the courage athletes have and the pure joy they exude.
Special Olympics Hawaii brings out the best in all of our athletes and families!