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Special Olympians Compete in the Poconos

Special Olympians Compete in the Poconos - Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 5:20PM EST

BRODHEADSVILLE, MONROE COUNTY - Athletes competed in the Special Olympics Wednesday. Nearly 400 of them showed off their stuff during track and field events at Pleasant Valley High School.
Eyewitness News met second grader Trestin Galler as he took the starting line for the 50 meter dash. For him it's more than a race. It's a run that proves his autism and mental retardation don't define him. It's a challenge that lets his class from Pleasant Valley Elementary to show support. The Special Olympics make the ten year old feel like a winner.

His dash earned him a fourth place ribbon. Trestin's mother Chris said she looks forward to the event every year. She explained, "I think it's very important for these kids to have people who really respect and have hopes and dreams for these children."

Trestin's teacher agrees. Karen Lesoine said, "I feel that special needs don't get the spotlight enough." Teachers say the event isn't just great for the athletes, it's also a learning experience for other students in their schools. "They learn tolerance, they learn that not every body is alike and that's ok and it's good to have differences in their lives," said Lesoine.

From jumps that prove kids can overcome life's hurdles to sprints that simply make them smile, The Special Olympics give every child an opportunity to be a winner.

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