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Racing Unified Down Aspen Mountain

2015 unified snowboarders

One of the central tenets of Brightspot’s mission is to get off the sidelines and join hand-in-hand in bringing joy to the lives of others. In January, Brightspot employees and its partners from Healthgrades personified this effort by taking to the slopes of Aspen Mountain and competing side-by-side, as teammates, with Special Olympics snowboarders from across America.

For the second straight year, Brightspot served as the title sponsor for the Hannah Teter Special Olympics Unified Dual Slalom Race. Joining Brightspot and Healthgrades employees on the mountain were Hannah Teter and other world-renowned X Games athletes including Scotty Lago and Scotty James.

“Sponsoring this and other Unified Sports Experiences is such an important part of what we do at Brightspot,” remarked Lisa Beaudoin. “Through our mission work, we aim to do much more than simply donate money. We want to participate with the people we are helping, to walk in their shoes and gain a better understanding of how we impact their lives.”

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New to this year’s event was the addition of team members from Healthgrades, a longtime partner of Brightspot. “Coming together in Aspen was a special opportunity for us we saw first-hand how our continued relationship with Brightspot helps touch the lives of others. Interacting with the Special Olympics athletes throughout the weekend and seeing their enthusiasm and skill as they raced down the mountain side-by-side with Olympic medalists and X Games athletes is something I will never forget,” commented Andrea Pearson, Healthgrades’ Executive Vice President and GM of Consumer Products.

Racing together down Aspen Mountain, in celebration of Special Olympics’ global Play Unified campaign, the participants epitomized the values of inclusion, acceptance, and joy.

In most instances, it was the Special Olympics athletes, who led their teams to the finish line. “I had a hard time keeping up with my teammate, Charles,” reflected David Hamric, a software engineer at Brightspot. “Like the other Special Olympians, he was extremely fast and was halfway down the mountain, before I could even get back my snow legs. He definitely carried our team!”

Following the race, the Unified partners celebrated together at the Sky Hotel, where they received their medals. “Standing on stage with Carson, my teammate, and receiving a medal together was the highlight of the weekend,” recalled Miles de Feyter. “Sharing the slopes with him was truly special and I hope we will keep in touch.”

The fun, however, was just getting started. After receiving their medals, the competitors ditched their snowboards for their dancing shoes and participated in the Just Dance challenge. Special Olympics athletes and staff, Brightspot employees, Healthgrades partners, and X Games celebrities showed off their best moves playing the interactive video game.

“The Just Dance challenge was awesome!” exclaimed Ryan Anderson. “Watching people with and without intellectual disabilities united in laughter and joy as they put their egos aside and busted out ridiculous moves truly defined what this weekend was about. Henry and Beau really showed all of us up on the dance floor!”

“Unified Sports, whether on the mountain or the dance floor, challenges us to leave behind our preconceived notions about people with intellectual disabilities. It exposes us to new friends and teaches us values that can’t be learned from the sidelines,” explained Beaudoin. “The ongoing partnership between Brightspot and Special Olympics, initially centered around digital and technical support, continues to evolve into a far more meaningful relationship, as we work with them to change perspectives and bring the joy of competition to so many, including our own employees and partners.”

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