WHY WE WALK
Our athletes live with functional limitations that hinder what they can do. These functional limitations will never completely go away. By participating in Specials Olympics our athletes can continue to develop the life skills they need to be accepted, respected, and given a chance to be useful and productive citizens in our society. Your participation in INSPIRATION WALK 2012 will make it possible for Specials Olympics Baltimore County to continue to offer programs that will help increase our athletes’ abilities. You will not only be helping a good cause but you will have a great time doing so with our athletes, your family and friends.
Brad Ross, is extremely involved with Special Olympics Baltimore County. He started with at the age of 8 years old. These days Brad is a three sport athlete training and competing in Soccer, Basketball and Track & Field. Some say that Brad has been competing and winning ever since birth. “Brad was ill from 1 month of age.” said Jill Ross, Brad’s mother. “He had four surgeries his first year and was ‘slow’ or ‘floppy’ as an infant. We knew pretty much from the beginning that he had special needs.”
Over the past 20 years, Brad has spent time at both Kennedy Krieger and John Hopkins. During his visits at both institutions, various Genetics Specialist have tried to label Brad’s disability, as many as ten times. To this day, there is still no label for his disability. Jill Ross mentioned that “About 2/3rds of people with disabilities will never know exactly what syndrome they have. We call his the ‘Brad Ross Syndrome’”.
Despite Brad’s disability he has continued to excel in life. At the age of 20 Brad became an Eagle Scout. To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in Scouting, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills. Only 5% of all scouts achieve this ranking. Jill and Chris Ross have been proud of many things their son has achieved in life, but this is the achievement they are most proud of, “Besides an Eagle Project, he had to finish 21 merit badges, be in a leadership role and do a lot of camping. He then had to give a speech in front of 300 people when he accepted his award.”.
Between all of the training and competing that Brad does for Special Olympics, who would think that he would have time for a full time job. Brad works full-time with full-benefits, as a mail clerk, for Becton-Dickinson a medical supply company in Sparks, MD. During his free time, Brad can be found at a local movie theatre, in front of the TV, camping, or at a game rooting on his favorite team, the Baltimore Ravens. Brad’s favorite sport is football.
Since he was young a few things have been consistent in Brad’s life. Two of those things are the support and love that he has received from family, friends, co-workers, and the families and athletes of Special Olympics. “Brad has always loved Special Olympics.”, said Jill Ross. The programs and the atmosphere of Special Olympics gives Brad a chance to socialize with other athletes, coaches, and volunteers. In addition, by participating in training and competition Brad learns team play, exercise and rules. All are important in helping him, and other athletes, develop skills for life.