Sweet and Sassy team members pose alongside Special Olympic athlete, Holy, for a quick photo in between games at motionball Kelowna’s 6th annual event at City Park this past Saturday. This year’s event raised a record breaking $105,000 for Special Olympics Canada Foundation. - Image: Contributed

Motionball raises big bucks for Special O

Kelowna multi-sport event this past weekend was a huge hit, on the fields and off

They came, they saw and they played many sports. Even better, they surpassed their fundraising goal for the Special Olympics.

Motionball Kelowna raised $105,000 for Special Olympics’ programming this past Saturday, blowing its fundraising target out of the water, and in so doing, providing a chance for even more aspiring athletes to participate in Special Olympics programming.

“We still cannot believe we surpassed our target,” said co-event director Donnie Ungaro. “Our public goal was $80,000, but to the planning committee our actual goal was $100,000, and we topped that.”

Ungaro, and a team of like-minded young professionals had a dream of reaching the $100k mark, but with an event date switch this year, and with a target of $60,000 last year, they feared $100,000 was a bit of a leap.

“Our event has always been in June,” said Ungaro. “Switching to September was a risk, but we knew we would be competing with less events as well as summer holidays. We have built a strong team locally and we were silently confident we could realize our dream of helping even more individuals with intellectual disabilities.”

Teams at this year’s event had a blast throughout the day with many participants expressing their plans to return again next year and sharing their gratitude for the impactful day.

“Thank you motionball, for helping Special Olympics, because my team Sweet and Sassy rocked it!” said Special Olympic local champion, Holy, in her closing remarks. “Thank you for a super awesome rocking day. This means a lot to Special Olympics to fundraise our money.”

And for those behind the operations of the event, the impact of the day could be felt greater than ever.

“We are all proud to be a part of this event,” said Ungaro. “Hearing stories of the Special Olympic athletes and seeing how happy they are to be involved is an amazing feeling. The good vibes, gratitude and inclusive atmosphere was felt far and wide this past weekend. We are all lucky to be involved.”

Two per cent of Canadians have an intellectual disability. Although 44,000 Special Olympics athletes are registered in Special Olympics Canada programs, this number only reflects 10 per cent of the two per cent intellectually disabled community. motionball hopes to influence a positive change in these numbers by educating more Canadians and building awareness for the cause.

The motionball Kelowna planning committee sends a huge thank you to their volunteers, participants, and local community supporters including Interior Savings, Kelowna Now, Capital News and SunFM.

Learn more about motionball Marathon of Sport at motionball.com/Kelowna.