Special Olympics announced today their first-ever social fundraising collaboration with GoFundMe.

Video: Sponsor an Athlete: 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games

As part of the effort, nearly 500 GoFundMes will be created by teams, coaches, as well as by Olympians, top professional athletes, YouTube stars and other influencers to support this worthy cause.

“We are proud to partner with Special Olympics to help support these remarkable athletes and their communities,” said Rob Solomon, GoFundMe CEO. “GoFundMe’s mission is to empower people to help people, and Special Olympics has been helping to empower people with intellectual disabilities for almost 50 years. It’s an honor to share the stories of these competitors who have overcome obstacles.”

Over 2,700 athletes from over 100 countries will compete in nine sports at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria next month. Special Olympics is more than a sports organization — it is creating a worldwide movement that highlights inclusion and community, where every individual is accepted and included. For many competitors, it’s a life-changing experience.

The GoFundMes created for these athletes will not only share each of their personal stories, but help them on their journey to the Games with expenses related to travel, training, equipment, coaching, and accommodations.

“We are excited to collaborate with GoFundMe to help further drive support for our incredible athletes and tell their personal stories of achievement, bravery and inspiration as they prepare for the World Games” said Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics.

The Special Olympics World Winter Games will take place March 14 through March 25 in Graz, Schladming, Rohrmoos and Ramsau, Austria. Many of the Special Olympics ambassadors and influencers will be attending the Games to cheer on these amazing athletes from the stands. Additionally, eight Olympic athletes, including Julia Mancuso, Hannah Teter and Apolo Ohno, shared messages of encouragement to Special Olympic athletes in a video embodying Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy’s message of hope and victory.

To donate and learn more about their stories, and view all Special Olympic GoFundMes, visit: gofundme.com/specialolympics.

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