Written By: Amanda Church
Anne DeForge is the definition of resilient.
Anne, a Special Olympics athlete out of Springfield, Massachusetts has had to overcome more obstacles in 35 years than most people do in their entire lives. Prior to living in Springfield, Anne lived in Syracuse, NY with her loving family. That all took a tragic turn when Anne's parents both passed away within a few short years. How does someone deal with so much?
Anne's sisters not only knew they had a big task in making sure Anne was going to finish high school, but they also had to start thinking about her future outside of Syracuse. This is when Anne and her sisters decided it would be best to move to Springfield, Massachusetts.
Since moving to Massachusetts, Anne joined Special Olympics, where she competes in swimming, soccer, bowling and bocce with her Special Olympics Team, the Raptors. Anne's teammates, coaches and family all say that she is hardworking and heartwarming.
Anne has preserved through her obstacles and recently received the chance of a lifetime. She was chosen as one of four swimmers to represent Team Massachusetts in Orlando Florida in the 2022 Special Olympics National Games. Anne swam against the best of the best and achieved her goal, which was to win a gold medal at National Games. She flew through the water and won the gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle.
Unfortunately, Anne was not done with adversity. While playing soccer, she took a bad kick to her knee which led her to leave the playing field and have surgery to repair the damage. After a long recovery, she got herself back on the playing field and was thrilled to be back with her friends.
Outside of competing for Special Olympics, Anne enjoys writing poems, singing, and taking part in the Special Olympics Athletes chats every Tuesday and Friday, where she can engage in conversation with not just her teammates but with other Special Olympics athletes.
Anne does not know what her next chapter in life is going to be, or what she wants to do, but she may consider taking classes at a community college. After everything Anne has been through, she still has so much to offer and such a big heart. Anne truly is a resilient person.
The mission of Special Olympics MA Athlete Leadership is to empower athletes to develop communication skills and utilize their voices to assume meaningful leadership roles. As members of the Content Squad, athlete leaders were tasked with writing feature stories on each other. They were able to generate interview questions, sit down with their partner, add or alter their questions, and then put together a short form feature story.