A Special Olympics 5K was hosted in the President’s Courtyard on Saturday, Nov. 11, to raise money for the Area 22 Special Olympics Spring Games.
Area 22 covers Saginaw and Shiawassee Counties.
Cardinals for Special Olympics hosted the event with the goal of raising enough money to fund projects themselves, rather than asking other organizations to allocate money to the group.
Gaining more exposure throughout the community and campus was the main goal of the 5K. Advocating for Special Olympics athletes is also a central role of Cardinals for Special Olympics.
It was a blistery cold morning, which led to a weaker turnout than what was originally expected.
“We could’ve had a better turnout and warmer weather,” said Madison Kowaleski, president of Cardinals for Special Olympics. “We still had a great time and some awesome volunteers.”
Runners started in the courtyard and followed the designated route through campus. Runners also had the option of running a 5K or a 2K.
“The event was a family fun course, and it was also for an awesome cause,” said Stephen McGraw, the winning runner. “It was a little chilly, but it was worth it.”
Kowaleski was thrilled with the donations Cardinals for Special Olympics received even before the run had started. The donations helped to offset the low turnout as a result of the inclement weather, so the day was still considered a success.
“We went above and beyond with donations,” said Kowaleski. “After our t-shirts are purchased, we still raised $1,000 just from donations alone.”
The money will be utilized to rent out the Ryder Center for the SVSU Special Olympics in April. In recent years, rent fees have gone up, making it more difficult for Cardinals for Special Olympics afford the space. This encouraged them to come up with alternative fundraising sources, like Saturday’s run.
“The games are the highlight of (the Special Olympics athletes’) year,” Kowaleski said. “We just want to help make that experience possible for them.”