2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games Creates 'Magic' in Idaho as Stars and Special Olympic Athletes Share the Stage

'Share the Magic' Event Raises $1.5 Million for Games Organizers

Sep 12, 2007, 01:00 ET from Special Olympics

    BOISE, Idaho, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stars of television,
 film and sport cheered Special Olympics athletes on September 6, 2007 in
 Boise, Idaho -- the site of the 2009 Special Olympics Games World Winter
     The setting was the winter-themed glamorous ballroom at the Boise
 Centre on the Grove, where the celebration honored the inspiration and
 life-changing spirit exemplified by the Special Olympics movement. The gala
 fundraiser raised $1.5 million to benefit organizing efforts for the Games
 that will be held in Idaho from February 6-13, 2009.
     Hollywood stars Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher sent video-taped thanks
 to 30 Special Olympics athletes in attendance, for teaching the world that
 "every one of us can achieve our own personal greatness." Broadway singing
 sensation, Jennifer Holliday, electrified the crowd in person with her
 powerful voice and personal story about her kinship with those labeled
 "disabled." Actor/producer, Henry Winkler, co-hosted the evening with local
 Idahoan and former "Apprentice" star, Troy McClain. McClain, a spokesman
 for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, spoke of his
 intellectually- disabled and deaf sister who "taught him how to hear."
     Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International,
 introduced Jim and Pirie Grossman, who brought the Games to Idaho and
 co-chair the local organizing committee for 2009. "This night brings our
 dream of hosting the world here in Idaho closer to reality. Besides being
 the largest sporting event ever in our state, the 2009 Games will help
 illuminate the Special Olympics movement," said Jim Grossman. "The Games
 will give Idaho a chance to truly shine. (It will) show the world what
 Idaho has -- its heart and its spirit."
     "We hope this evening helped inspire the Idaho community to step up and
 Be a Fan," said Shriver. "It is our hope that people will give and
     Los Angeles musicians, Jimmy and Donnie Demers, performed for the
 crowd, singing an original anthem, "Redemption", written for the 2009 World
 Winter Games.
     There were many surprises woven through the evening, including a live
 telephone call from "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul who complimented the
 Special Olympics for its vital world-wide role. Video-taped messages from
 actress Judith Light emotionally told the athletes they were her "personal
 heroes" and actor Mark Hamill reminded the athletes to "let the force be
 with you."
     Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter told the audience that his state is
 proud to host the Games in 2009, welcoming international delegations with
 true western hospitality. Mrs. Otter, an advocate of education, noted that
 Idaho children will reap vast benefits from the experience, celebrating
 individual differences, compassion and the spirit of the Games.
     The highlight of the black tie gala was the entrance of the athletes
 who were escorted into the ballroom by local singer Nancy Roche singing
 "Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong", and the three Special Olympics Global
 Messengers who shared their inspirational stories with the enthusiastic

SOURCE Special Olympics