Shelley Mooney, a member of Weber State University’s Special Olympics team, has been invited to compete in snowshoeing for the upcoming Special Olympics World Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
To be invited to the World Games, an athlete must win a gold medal in his or her state winter games. Then those winner’s names are put into a drawing, and Mooney’s happened to be picked out of many and put on Team USA.
To send an athlete to the World Games costs about $7,000. The WSU Special Olympics team has a goal of raising $1,500 for Mooney. So far, the team has only met 8 percent of its goal. In efforts to reach its goal, the team has a few fundraiser events coming up.
To help get the word out about Mooney’s fundraiser to Ogden citizens, Stuart Call of the Community Involvement Center is working on gathering people to pass out fliers door to door in Ogden neighborhoods. Anyone who wants to volunteer can contact Call at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 801-317-7196. Utah State Representative Gage Froerer will donate $20 to Mooney’s fundraiser for each person who volunteers to help Call pass out fliers.
On Nov. 20, 25 percent of the sales earned from 5-7 p.m. at the Chick-fil-A on Antelope Drive in Layton which exceed its average sales will be donated to Mooney’s fundraiser. The team is hoping for a big turnout of supporters to help exceed the restaurant’s sale average.
“These events can do very well based on the effort put into promoting them,” said Brad Hurst, marketer for Chick-fil-A. “We have had several organizations make over $300.”
The fliers Call and volunteers will hand out promote this Chick-fil-A “Spirit Night” for Mooney.
Anyone can donate to Mooney’s fundraiser at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/shelleymooney/worldgames. Monetary donations may also be dropped off at the Community Involvement Center in the Shepherd Union Building, Room 327.
“She definitely deserves to go,” said Chelsea Bacon, the Special Olympics chair at WSU. “She’s really dedicated.”
Mooney has been an athlete with the Special Olympics since she was 8 years old. She is now 24 years old and has had many accomplishments in the Special Olympics. She said it’s hard to keep track of all the medals she’s won.
“She’s good at what she does, and she’s a fun person to be around,” said Natalie Pruess, Special Olympics team co-director.
This won’t be Mooney’s first time competing globally — she did gymnastics in the 1999 Special Olympic World Games in North Carolina — although this will be her first time going out of the country for Special Olympics or for any other reason.
“It’ll be awesome, the experience and a new culture,” she said.
Her brother James Mooney and her father Bob Mooney, who are also involved in Special Olympics, will be going with her to South Korea.
“It’s a family thing,” Bob Mooney said.
Mooney said she has stayed a part of the Special Olympics for so long because she loves playing sports and being around her family.
“It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve been able to meet other athletes from different parts of the country,” Bob Mooney said. “All the athletes get to become friends and keep in contact with each other.”
Mooney’s weeklong training will start on Dec. 10 in New York. Afterward, she will prepare to leave for South Korea on Jan. 26, 2013.
In South Korea, Mooney will be one of 33,000 athletes and coaches participating to represent 112 countries.
“The Pyeongchang Games will provide a venue for global discussions and action on the impact Special Olympics can have on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities,” according to www.specialolympics.org.
Anyone who would like to volunteer on the WSU Special Olympics team can attend practices, which are held each Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., or contact the Community Involvement Center. Practices are currently focused on volleyball and are held in the Swenson Gym on campus.