Every year, Special Olympics is held at schools across the area giving students with intellectual disabilities a chance to show their athletic ability locally. This year, junior Cade Marian will be competing as 1 of 4 golfers representing Missouri in the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, WA.
Marian, who has Down Syndrome, has been playing golf since he was 10-years-old. He’s been working to get into this event having to earn a silver or gold medal in Regional and State Games in 2016.
“[What I appreciate about Cade is] his enthusiasm for the game of golf and his work ethic,” said varsity golf coach Jim Parks.
Over his career, Marian has received instruction from the PGA and has participated twice in the Nike Golf Camps held in Nebraska. He is the only person with Down syndrome to have participated in any of the nationwide Nike week-long golf camps. He has also played for Parkway North varsity golf team for two years.
Playing golf has allowed Marian to prove to people that he is not just a stigma. It has also allowed him to be competitive with friends and teammates on the same level.
“I think that [he competes] because he feels like there are kids who can relate to him. He has a really big talent for Special Olympics, so when it comes down to it, he participates because he has a real talent. He can be a part of a team, and he can really be out there,” said junior Maggie Hansen.
In order to compete in the Special Olympic USA Games, Marian needs to raise $6,000. The donated money will go towards things such as travel to Seattle, lodging, uniforms, equipment, training camps, food, etc. One way he has raised money is by selling bracelets during academic lab.
“They are meant to show support. They say ‘Cade’s Crew, Special Olympics 2018’. [Having the bracelet] means that he has your support and you’re here to support him throughout his journey,” said Hansen.
During the competition, Marian will be competing with his father as a Unified Partner. They will play as a team using an alternate shot format. Marian is excited as he is not often able to showcase his talent with people similar to him at such a high level.
“Cade is a solid golfer who knows a lot about the game of golf,” said Parks.
The games will take place July 1-6, 2018 with more than 4,000 participants competing from 52 state programs. The game will also be televised on ESPN.
There are two more ways people can donate for his cause. People can donate directly online via Marian’s fundraising page [located here: http://give.somo.org/goto/cademarian] or can send a check payable to the Special Olympics Missouri Organization (SOMO), with Marian’s name on the memo line to the address Special Olympics Missouri, Attn: Jennifer Krumm, 2945 S. Brentwood, St. Louis, MO 63144.
Ijeoma Nkenchor, Assistant Editor-in-Chief