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Friday, December 08, 2023

Badgers for Special Olympics leads the way in sporting accessibility

Volunteering is an important aspect of campus students’ lives, especially when it means helping others through inclusivity and understanding. Whether for the love of the position, to support people or to gain experiences, Madison volunteering yields positive impacts on the community.  

One volunteer organization at the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose passion breaks down barriers is Badgers for Special Olympics (BFSO). Special Olympics is a global organization that supports athletes who have intellectual disabilities through programs. 

Athletes have the opportunity to compete on sports teams or in individual sports and have the chance to qualify for national tournaments, according to Daisy Lang, president of BSFO. 

Lang said she loves getting to serve as a partner and play on the BFSO team. 

“It is so much fun to play alongside the athletes and compete on the teams,” Lang said. “Everyone is so supportive, and I love cheering on my teammates during the game.” 

Lang was first introduced to the program her freshman year when attending the Unified Group Fitness Class and understood how important the organization’s work is for the community. 

“I immediately fell in love with the environment and the mission,” Lang said. “All of the athletes and partners are some of the kindest and most supportive people I have ever met.” 

Athletes serve on the board of BFSO and become leaders in the organization, coming up with new ideas on how to improve BFSO. Lang said BFSO tries to be an inclusive organization and a place where “everyone is accepted and included.” 

Lang’s involvement with the program started because she wanted to find a new way to be involved in the world of athletics at college after high school sports. 

“There is no better feeling than giving someone the opportunity to play the sports they love,” she said. “I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have this opportunity. My involvement in the Special Olympics has made me realize how fortunate I was that I got to participate in the activities that I loved growing up and has fueled my passion to give others this same opportunity.” 

Through her involvement, Lang said she understands the barriers to adequate health care that exist for those with intellectual disabilities. 

“My mission through BFSO is to give people of all backgrounds the opportunities and means to live a healthy and active life,” Lang said. “After college, I want to pursue a career in medicine where I plan to continue this mission and help people adapt to healthy lifestyles, no matter their intellectual abilities.”

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Daisy’s passion for BFSO shows how people’s dedication to volunteer organizations truly makes a difference on others, but on the volunteer as well. Not only is Daisy making a difference in the Madison community, but she is learning from the athletes as well. 

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