GRIMES, Iowa -- A national organization and a local gas station turn 50 years old this year, and they are celebrating the anniversaries together. During the whole month of June, Special Olympics Iowa and Casey’s General Store are partnering to raise money for Iowa’s Special Olympic athletes.
“Knowing that it’s been around for five decades, that is a very big milestone because if it weren’t for the people that care about people with special needs, we wouldn’t be here right now,” Special Olympics athlete Tyler Leech said.
When at the register at Casey’s, customers can donate one dollar to Special Olympics Iowa and put their name on a ticket that will be hung up around the store. Now eight days into June, Casey’s has raised around $22,000 for Special Olympics athletes to compete in the sports they love.
“Right now, I’m doing bocce, which just wrapped up last May, and then I’m going to be doing golf, but I’ve done a lot of other sports in the past,” Leech said.
There is no age limit to the program. Participants must be at least 8 years old to join, but there are athletes in their 80s. There are around 15,000 Special Olympic athletes in Iowa who use the organization to stay active and express themselves.
Another thing Casey’s is doing this June is feature Special Olympic athletes and volunteers on its 44-ounce drink cups.
“Our job at Special Olympics is to promote them and to make sure people see their abilities rather than their disabilities,” Special Olympics Iowa’s Marketing and Communications Manager Stephanie Kocer said.
While the cups don’t raise any money for Special Olympics Iowa, they do bring awareness to the organization.
“Being able to kind of have their pictures on the Casey’s cups and kind of have them on social media promoting the fundraiser, it shows that we have athletes that are very much involved and are very excited to tell people about what they can do,” Kocer said.
To spread the awareness, Special Olympics Iowa is reposting and giving prizes to the most creative and fun pictures involving this cup. Just post to social media using the hashtag #caseyscampaign18.