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McFadden sisters did Howard County proud at 2012 Paralympics

FestivusSpecial Olympics2012 Summer ParalympicsMatt StoverParalympic GamesBrad JacksonAutism Speaks

Tatyana McFadden put on a remarkable performance at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Competing in "athletics," which is what we call track and field, she had nine races from Sept. 3-9. Five were finals.

Over that span the 23-year-old from Clarksville won three gold medals (400, 800 and 1,500) and a bronze in the 100. In her fifth event final, the marathon, she led at the 5k and 10k marks before suffering two punctured tires on her wheelchair. Still, she fought back to place ninth. There was little room for mistake or misfortune; after 26-plus miles, the top four finishers in the women's race were two seconds apart.

We should all be proud of Tatyana, now a student at the University of Illinois, and her younger sister, Hannah, who goes to Atholton. They became the first siblings on the same Paralympic team and competed against each other in the 100 finals. This was Tatyana's third Paralympics and Hannah's first. Both are in the T54 classification.

It was a sweet swing

Ellicott City resident Richard Fields picked the perfect time to record his first hole-in-one. Playing in the annual Course for the Cause tournament at Waverly Woods, the 64-year-old made an ace on the 171-yard, par-3 seventh hole. Not only did Richard get a memory that will last a lifetime, but he also walked away with a brand new Nissan Altima.

The Course for the Cause is a Howard-County based organization that raises money for Autism Speaks. Last year the group, which started four years ago and donates 100 percent of its profits, raised $17,000.

Want to meet some Ravens?

I recently heard about the Life and Breath Foundation and its fourth annual Flip Flop Festivus fundraiser scheduled for Sept. 22 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore. It's known as one of Baltimore's best football parties. Former Baltimore Ravens Quadry Ismail, Matt Stover and Brad Jackson will receive Community Outreach Awards at the event.

Ellicott City resident Sean Hull is the founder and president of the Life and Breath Foundation, which he started to create awareness and raise funds to fight sarcoidosis, the world's most common fibrotic lung disease. Sean lost his 59-year-old mother to the disease.

Sean said he chose the name Flip Flop Festivus "to put a smile on people's faces. We wanted something elegant and casual but have a certain flair to it. We remembered that the Baltimore Ravens also had a Festivus one year so we decided to incorporate that and we invited some former Ravens players to attend."

Sean's foundation has donated $105,000 so far, and those funds are earmarked for Johns Hopkins, whose researchers are on the cusp of creating a blood test to diagnose the disease. Tickets are $100 per person and $175 for the VIP reception. For tickets and information go to lifeandbreath.org.

Stapleton wins gold medal

Elkridge's John Stapleton, one of Special Olympics/Howard County's best golfers, won the gold medal in the 9-hole individual stroke championship flight for the Special Olympics North Golf Invitational held in Litchfield Park, Ariz., Sept. 6-9.

On the first day, he shot 50 and followed that the next day with a personal-best 43. On the third day John shot another 50 for an overall low score of 143 on the Blue (Patriot) Course. His 43 was the lowest score in 9-hole play.

John, soon to be 25, has been playing golf for Special Olympics for 15 years.

Brent Kennedy contributed to this column.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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FestivusSpecial Olympics2012 Summer ParalympicsMatt StoverParalympic GamesBrad JacksonAutism Speaks
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