This July, 7000 athletes from all over the world will convene in Los Angeles, California to compete in the Olympics. But it’s not the Summer Games you’re thinking of — it’s the Special Olympics World Games.

First held in 1968 in Chicago, Illinois, the Special Olympics allows for athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in events such as aquatics, athletics, gymnastics and equestrian sports, among others. In addition to competitors from over 177 countries, this year’s games will boast about 30,000 volunteers and 500,000 spectators, making it the largest humanitarian event in the world.

When learned of the amazing history being made, we immediately got on the phone to find out how we could get involved in such an amazing cause.

By naming the Special Olympics World Games our July Cause of the Month, and its community of over one million supporters and members were able to fully sponsor two international athletes: Natalia Marquez of Puerto Rico, and Chavez Lamy of Trinidad and Tobago.


The $5,000+ donated by will completely cover our athletes’ expenses after arriving in Los Angeles, including all food, medical care, entertainment and housing at the Athlete Villages (located as University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles). Natalia will compete in female athletics and Chavez will compete in male aquatics throughout the duration of the games.

Perhaps the most important part of helping these two athletes — as well as the other 177 — is the ability to make them feel like all-stars, win or lose!

As suspected, living with an intellectual disability is no easy feat, handing an extra set of challenges to each person dealt these cards, as well as their family and friends. While life can be more difficult when disability is in the picture, the Special Olympics are not meant for “charity” or “handouts”. Instead, the Special Olympics represents the determination people with intellectual disabilities put forth every day. It showcases the unconditional love poured out by their support systems. It demonstrates the ability each person with an intellectual disability has to overcome obstacles and succeed, making it one of the most powerful events of the year.

While small everyday actions such as shopping online can make a difference for our athletes, you can also contribute online to their experience at’s Special Olympics sponsor page here.

Let’s open our arms (and wallets!) for our deserving athletes Natalia and Chavez, and witness them be great as they go for gold!

All photos are via Special Olympics.

A Boston native turned New Yorker, Tyler joined in July 2014. With a public relations degree from Quinnipiac University, he channels most of his energy into combing through what’s trending on social media and nurturing our partnerships with nonprofits. Whatever energy he has left at the end of the day is reserved time for fitness, family, and friends.