Come out for a night of fine dining, live entertainment from City Lights Orchestra, signature high-end live/silent auction, featuring exclusive sports events, experiential items and celebrity appearances.
Special Olympics Illinois (SO IL) intends to continue the momentum created at the inaugural Inspire Greatness Gala, which celebrated the historic occasion of the birth of the Special Olympics movement on July 20, 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago with 1,000 athletes participating.
Fifty years later, the movement is international in scope, touching the lives of over 4.5 million athletes, millions more families and volunteers in 170 countries. SO IL provides year round athletic training and competition in 18 sports for more than 23,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, and over 17,000 Young Athletes (ages 2-7), encouraging the development of physical fitness and enabling a network of opportunities to develop sustaining friendships.
As in previous years, the event is expected to draw scores of Chicago dignitaries and notables. The 2019 Inspire Greatness Gala again pays tribute to the City of Chicago and the role that it has played in this historic movement and showing the world how Special Olympics transforms lives. This year’s Gala video will feature Special Olympics Illinois athlete Patrick McCarthy. Patrick, 28, has participated in the program since he was eight years old. He began his Special Olympics career competing in track & field and then moved on to try many other sports including soccer, speed skating, golf, equestrian, softball, basketball, bowling, volleyball, tennis, powerlifting, and swimming. In 2013, Patrick was selected to join Special Olympics USA – at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Korea. Aside from the many Special Olympics sports Patrick participates in, he has a love for hockey. Patrick began playing hockey with the Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey in August of 2000.
Patrick works at several jobs on the Misericordia campus, some of these include, recycling and bakery packaging jobs. He also works part-time at Panera Bread in Evanston. Patrick has been an ambassador for the Chicago White Sox since 2013. He likes to spend time painting, reading and listening to music. He enjoys running and generally runs in a half dozen or so 5-10k races in Chicago every year. Despite the challenges Patrick’s has overcome, he has always ready to take on something new!