Loreto Fuentes and Her Extra Special Special Olympics

June 22, 2016

The weekend of June 11 and 12 marked the Connecticut Special Olympics Summer Games at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT, during which Carrington Associates lent their time and support to the athletes competing in this year’s Summer Games. But for one Carrington Associate – Loreto Fuentes, who works with Carrington Capital Management in Connecticut – these games were extra special.

Loreto’s daughter Stephanie, who just turned 18 on June 19, is intellectually disabled. “We’ve had to teach her how to do everything down to swallowing,” she says. “Everything she’s doing today was because of hand-over-hand teaching.”

Although Stephanie is also non-verbal, that hasn’t stood in her way as she’s become an integral part of the Special Olympics – which was something Loreto says she wasn’t sure would ever happen. “When she was a baby, we took her to some specialists and doctors said she wasn’t going to walk,” says Loreto. “On the weekend of the Special Olympics, she ran 100 meters without stopping. That was just over the top for me.”

Stephanie has been involved in the Special Olympics for the past three years, but this year marks the first year she qualified for the 100-meter dash. In the past, Loreto recalls, Stephanie would face challenges being qualified in regionals because she would step out of line, or run into the stands at the sound of the starting gun because she was scared.

Loreto says can’t thank the Special Olympics enough for the support the organization has given Stephanie. “Stephanie has grown and matured in ways you can’t teach,” she says. “She loves her team, she makes really good friends and she participates all year long with the Special Olympics. Now we’re at the point where she knows where I keep her sports uniforms, so I have to hide them!”

Part of what has helped Stephanie flourish has been seeing her peers excel in their chosen activities, and working with teammates dealing with everything from cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome and more. Loreto says peer mentorship and coaching has helped Stephanie see what she’s capable of, has encouraged her to learn how to effectively communicate, and enveloped her in a sense of camaraderie that has enriched her life.

Loreto says this year’s Games came with another surprise for Loreto and her daughter’s Special Olympics team: CCF donated the money to buy their uniforms. “We’ve been fundraising for a long time, but haven’t been able to buy them new uniforms for four years,” says Loreto. “So when Shelly Rose Lawrence told me that the CCF board voted to buy their uniforms, I broke out in tears. They bought shirts, shorts, backpacks – all 17 athletes wore the uniforms to the opening ceremonies. Words cannot describe the gratitude I feel for Carrington.”

We’re so proud to be a part of the Loreto’s family’s triumph at this year’s Special Olympics, and look forward to supporting them in next year’s competition!

An assistant coach accompanies Loreto Fuentes' daughter Stephanie during the opening ceremonies.

Stephanie tears up the track during the 100-meter dash.

Stephanie celebrates after her run.

Special Olympics athlete Stephanie takes home the Silver Medal.