Tuesday, February 04, 2020
PITTSBURGH (Feb. 4, 2020) — Highmark Inc. announced that it is the presenting sponsor of the 43rd Annual Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) Winter Games, which will take place at Seven Springs Mountain Resort from February 9-11, 2020. Athletes and coaches from across Pennsylvania will participate in three days of exciting winter sports — competing in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. The event will also include an opening ceremony to welcome more than 300 athletes and 135 coaches, and will feature special guests, a parade of athletes, the official lighting of the Olympic Cauldron, and a fireworks display to kick off the Games.
More than 1,000 enthusiastic supporters and volunteers will cheer on the athletes during competition. "We are excited to be the presenting sponsor of the 43rd annual Special Olympics Pennsylvania Winter Games being held at Seven Springs," said Deb Rice-Johnson, president, Highmark Inc. "Special Olympics embraces diversity and inclusion — values that Highmark shares. It's an honor to support Special Olympics Pennsylvania's Winter Games, athletes, coaches and families who have traveled from all over Pennsylvania to participate."
Highmark has been an avid supporter of SOPA for the past ten years, sponsoring multiple events including the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge, Annual Golf Tournaments, the Area M Games and the Western PA Sectionals. This is the first year Highmark has sponsored SOPA's Winter Games. Special Olympics is widely known and loved because of the unique sportsmanship, commitment and camaraderie demonstrated by the participating athletes and families.
"Highmark has been a tremendous partner for us," said Matt Aaron, SOPA President & CEO. "It is always exciting when we align with organizations that share our values, and so we are thrilled to see this partnership continue to flourish and grow — especially this year as they sponsor our 43rd annual Winter Games. Their support will help the more than 300 athletes competing at Winter Games have their best experience yet."
Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) provides year-round training and competition in 21 Olympic-type sports to more than 20,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities or closely related developmental disabilities. For 50 years, SOPA and its 54 local programs have used the power of sports to transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and unite everyone by fostering community and building a more acceptable and civil society. SOPA is much more than a sports organization. Through its Athlete Leadership Programs, athletes assume meaningful leadership roles, influence change within the Special Olympics movement and take on roles as Global Messengers (trained as public speakers for Special Olympics), athlete representatives, coaches, board members and more. SOPA also addresses major challenges facing its athletes including healthcare. Its Healthy Athletes program offers athletes free health screenings in the form of eye, ear, dental and podiatry assessments. Athletes are also taught how to live active lifestyles, eat healthy and more. Additionally, SOPA strives to create a unified world by promoting inclusion, uniting communities, and changing attitude. Through Unified Sports, SOPA brings together individuals with and without intellectual disabilities as equal teammates in training and competition, which promotes respect and acceptance, and facilitates meaningful relationships between people of all abilities. For more information about how you can join “The Inclusion Revolution,” visit www.specialolympicspa.org.
One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of 4.5 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance, vision care and other related businesses. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.
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