DeKALB – Mary Reynolds, 54, of DeKalb told her 21-year-old daughter, Edith, from the ground to be careful as she watched Edith sit on the ledge of the roof during Cop on a Rooftop on Friday at the DeKalb Dunkin’ Donuts.
Mary Reynolds said Edith has gotten more brave over time when it comes to participating in the annual event benefiting Special Olympics Illinois, where Edith competes in several events including swimming, track and bowling.
“You wouldn’t even have gotten her up there five years ago,” Mary Reynolds said.
Edith Reynolds said she has been an athlete in Special Olympics since she was about 8. She said she helps spread the word about Special Olympics Illinois as a Global Messenger and educates the community on how the organization can help people with disabilities come out of their shells.
Edith Reynolds said being a multi-event athlete in the games and working at fundraisers for the organization has helped her with the struggles she’s had as someone with epilepsy, cognitive impairment and problems with fine motor skills.
“It’s made me help myself get out there and help the community,” Edith Reynolds said.
Mary Reynolds said she started coaching teams for Special Olympics Illinois once Edith got involved. She said the organization has helped her daughter set and achieve goals that they thought couldn’t be reached, getting Edith closer to hopefully competing in the 2022 Paralympics in Beijing.
“The Special Olympics has given her that boost,” Mary Reynolds said.
John Barnett, a police officer at Northern Illinois University, has participated in Cop on a Rooftop for the past five years and helped run the event this year. He said the event is a way to give back to the community that local law enforcement patrols and to get kids with special needs playing sports and learning how to be team players.
“It’s so rewarding to raise money for such an important event,” Barnett said.
Mary Reynolds said money from the fundraiser goes toward helping athletes compete and keeping event costs low.
“To have law enforcement backing us up and cheering them on is just amazing,” Mary Reynolds said.
DeKalb and NIU police raised $3,142.10 for Special Olympics during this year’s event.