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Becca Tuohy’s life did not begin as any parent would expect. From the moment she was born, her parents knew that walking was going to be a challenge every day for their daughter due to a birth defect. Discussions of wheelchairs and crutches were held instead of deciding between soccer or ballet. Never in their wildest dreams did they think she would find success as a golfer!

Becca was born with Spina bifida, a birth defect where the brain and spine do not develop properly, causing little or no feeling in the legs, feet or arms. Because of this Becca uses a wheelchair, but can sometimes get around on crutches. She became extremely shy and did not interact much with her peers. She never experienced the joy of scoring the game winning goal or hitting the perfect pirouette, until what seemed like a miracle came to her family.

In 2012 the family heard about Special Olympics Texas and thought it was the opportunity of a lifetime for their daughter. They signed Becca up and her life changed for the better in an instant.

Coach Jennifer Smolka started teaching Becca how to play golf. They worked on developing enough power to swing the club even while in a wheelchair or using crutches.  The Waxahachie High School golf team and their coaches even volunteered with SOTX and helped Becca perfect her stroke.

“People with intellectual disabilities need a chance to have activities like other kids,” said Dian Tuohy, Becca’s mother. “Special Olympics provides that opportunity.”

Four years later, the 22-year-old Waxahachie resident competed at her first-ever state event at SOTX’s Fall Classic competition in Bryan/College Station.

“She had so much fun at Fall Classic,” said Dian. “She loves the social aspect that Special Olympics offers.”

Since joining SOTX, Becca has turned into a social butterfly and loves playing sports. She has become more independent, outspoken and confident. The once shy and reserved girl became a Global Messenger for SOTX and is now invited to speak at events in her hometown to promote SOTX.

With her newfound confidence Becca has even started a part-time job. She is currently in a trial period with the Boys and Girls Club in Waxahachie and hopes to continue as a part-time employee. 

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Change the World with Kindness

Clara Edwards’ serendipitous encounter with an SOTX practice led to 25 years as a coach

November 29, 2016

Clara Edwards is living proof of the age-old saying “Life can change in an instant.” One afternoon in the early 1990s, Clara was driving around the neighborhood when she had an encounter that changed her life forever. She was passing the softball fields when she saw a man coaching athletes with intellectual disabilities all by himself. “I thought ‘that’s ridiculous that he’s doing this alone’,” said Clara.

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