When you rise, they cheer you on. When you fall, they uplift you. Loving without conditions and understanding without judgment, family are the ones who believe in you and help you transform into the best version of yourself.
This International Day of Families, get to know some of Special Olympics’ not-so-ordinary families and how they inspired growth!
Families will always be proud of you: When people tell Madam May Faruza, a mother of five, how unfortunate it is to have a child with an intellectual disability, she turns to them and replies, ‘no, it’s a blessing’. Her youngest son, Ulfee, is 27 years old and has autism. He was born with an IQ of 42, impaired vision and hearing, as well as delays in his speech development. When she first found out during her pregnancy that Ulfee would be a special child, she was angry and upset. But the moment she held her baby in her arms, she was filled with pride and was determined to change her thinking. She learnt to listen, and interact better with him. She enrolled him in sports and became his loudest cheerleader. Today, Ulfee is a decorated athlete, and leads an independent life earning his own keep at a café. Mum couldn’t be prouder!
Families are selfless and generous, no matter what they have: Marcia Lai’s son, Filmer, was born with pilocytic astrocytoma, a rare form of brain tumour. By the age of 10, he had undergone five brain surgeries. Marcia had to sell their house to afford Filmer’s medical bills. She also gave up her job to spend time with her son. So did her husband, Galvin, who had a job in electronic sales. Together, they moved to more flexible jobs to ensure they could spend more quality time with Filmer. They nurtured his love for baking. With the support of his family, Filmer now runs his own online bakery. This young entrepreneur has an exciting venture called ‘Filmer’s Chiffon Cakes’.
Families know you’re limitless: Meet the inspiring family of Dr. Dindo Astom and Dr. Arlyn Astom, who are proud parents of five beautiful children. Their eldest son, Aaron, was diagnosed with autism when he was 3. Their youngest children, Daniel and Gabriel, were also found to have autism. People often ask them if it’s tough to bring up three children with autism. But for them, this is their normal. As a family, they go to the movies, they travel, they go swimming. They are not limited in any way, and they refuse to take no for an answer. In their words, “we do not believe in giving up; especially not on our own children!”
Today (and everyday), we at Special Olympics want to take a moment to thank our family – YOU! You’ve covered milestones with us, supported us in our cause and brought our athletes closer to their dream of leading meaningful lives. Thank you for being our family!