Special Olympics Florida

Running in the Right Direction

Posted on August 2, 2016 | Posted in Athlete ProfilesSports

Running can be freeing, exciting, and fun—it can also be utterly terrifying.  Special Olympics Florida athlete Cheyenne knows what it’s like to run under both circumstances.  By age ten, she had run away 33 times. Teachers and doctors described her as obstinate, wild, and a chronic eloper.

Thanks to the dedication of her adoptive parents and doctors at Emery University, Cheyenne was tested and diagnosed with cognitive delays. She was weaned off medication, placed in a class with students like her, and introduced to Special Olympics.

Cheyenne 3These new circumstances finally gave Cheyenne the environment she needed to come alive. At Special Olympics, her peers understood her; she made friends and knew she found a place she belonged.

Nervous at first, she began with a familiar skill—running. But in running track, she could race with confidence and joy, not frightened like in the past.

Now, Cheyenne competes in multiple sports, including long jump, swimming, and cycling. People now describe her as sweet, respectful, and fun to be around. She’s an honor roll student and hasn’t run away once since participating in Special Olympics.

Cheyenne 1                       Cheyenne 2