East Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The lone representative for Central New York at the Special Olympic World Games is returning home with a bronze medal. Kayla McKeon won the hardware for her performance in the bocce ball competition.
"I feel real happy. I won one and lost two, but hey, it's all good," she said. "I'm not going to take this hardware off."
The games were held in Athens, Greece.
Kayla is a graduate of Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
Local woman preparing to leave for Special Olympics
Brewerton (WSYR-TV) - It's been quite a week for Kayla McKeon. County Executive Joanie Mahoney declared Saturday Kayla McKeon Day in Onondaga County and friends and family gave her a bon-voyage party.
"I'm very excited," said Special Olympian Kayla McKeon. "Over the moon excited!"
Kayla's heading for Athens, Greece, shortly to represent the USA at the Special Olympics World Games in the bocce ball competition. "It's a once in a lifetime chance, and I'm taking it by the horns and I'm going with it," she said.
The Special Olympics have been a big part of Kayla's life for years, and she's grown into the role of global messenger and motivational speaker, visiting classrooms all over Central New York. Her message has always been more about ability than disability.
"What she says and does is from her heart," said Maria Alberico, of the NYS Special Olympics. "We don't script her, she certainly speaks from the heart."
"The stories are true. When you see kids on the track and somebody falls down and the racer next to them will stop the race and help the other kid get up and finish the race together," said Kayla's father, Mark McKeon. "That's what the Special Olympics are all about."
Mark McKeon says the community support his daughter has received has been wonderful.
He'll go along with her to Athens as her coach. He fully expects to shed a tear during opening ceremonies, when Kayla marches in front of tens of thousands of fans and recites the Special Olympic oath that has served her so well.
"Let me win, but if I can't win, let me be brave in the attempt," she recited. "I always go by that, it's a great motto to go by."
Kayla says her ultimate goal is to have fun and try her best. She will leave for Athens on June 16.
Special Olympian headed to World Games
BREWERTON, NY (WSYR-TV) - Bocce ball player Kayla McKeon will be the sole representative of Central New York at the Special Olympic World Games in Athens, Greece.
Kayla, from Brewerton, is also a motivational speaker and volunteers at the YMCA in Liverpool, Upstate University Hospital and Sacred Heart Church in Cicero.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney declared Saturday “Kayla McKeon Day” in honor of her achievements.
“I didn’t know about it I didn’t know it was coming so I was pretty surprised and yes it brought me to tears,” said Kayla’s mother Patti Mckeon.
Kayla’s ultimate goal is to have fun and try her best.
“If I get the gold I get the gold. If not I have a motto that I go by; Let me win, but if I can not win let me be brave in the attempt,” she said.
“She has a special heart. Not because she’s my athlete or our athlete. She just has that way about her that she works the room with her smile. She has a radiant smile and there’s no way better than that right now to go to Greece. I just think that all in all she deserves every aspect of it,” said Special Olympics Regional Director Maria Alberico
Kayla will leave for Athens on June 16th.