Journey of A Lifetime

Dear Villanova Special Olympics,

Three years ago I applied to become a part of you. Three years ago I so fortunately received an acceptance letter to become a part of something that would forever change my life. Let me explain.

Senior year of high school is supposed to be a great time in one’s life. For me it was anything but a great time. Poor health dominated my senior year. I came into college having lost faith in my ability to overcome obstacles, having lost faith in my skills, and having lost the bubbly happy personality that had served me so well over the year. I still remember saying bye to my parents unsure of what my future held, unsure of the obstacles that lay ahead, and unsure of my ability to overcome those obstacles. As luck would have it, two weeks into college, I had the chance to apply to be an LPH, and the rest as they say is history.

That November I walked into the East Lounge on the Friday of Fall Festival, unsure and frankly unable to realize what was about to come into my life. We welcomed 1200 of the best people on this planet, who for me could not have come at a better time. 1200 athletes from all over Pennsylvania taught me over the course of a weekend how to overcome obstacles, how to believe in your abilities and how regardless of the circumstances, to smile. No doctor or no medication for over a year, had done for me what the athletes of Villanova’s Fall Festival were able to do in three days. There never has been nor will there ever be something in my life that could have come at a better time. From that point on, everything changed. I forgot my obstacles, I forgot the fear, but more importantly I remembered how to smile. I remembered how no matter the obstacle, no matter the situation, the best medication in the world is a simple smile. I have been smiling for three years now because that is what the athlete’s do, that is what they taught me.

Tonight for the fourth and final time as a member of the Villanova Special Olympics Fall Festival movement, I start the journey to say thank you to the athletes in person. Today, tomorrow and everyday for many many years to come, I will thank the athletes every time I smile. I will thank them for teaching me the greatest lesson I’ve ever learned, and I will thank them for teaching me the true meaning of life.

For that, I will be forever grateful.

SpO Love,

Amitoj Sawhney