Here is the next part of my chat with Kerry Hincka, the mother of Special Olympic Athlete Molly Hincka. Part one of the interview can be found here.

Q. How did you and your husband respond to Special Olympics when Molly began?

A. Jerry (her father) and I were immediately hooked, and of course our other children Jake and Charlotte were there with us too. We immediately began timing races, shagging balls in the softball throw, cheering on the long jumpers: we had a blast!

Q. Have you and your husband continued to be active in SO?

A. Yes. When Molly qualified to go up to Central Michigan University to compete in the Michigan summer games we volunteered to chaperone, brought our boom box so we could have a dance party in our room, bought hula skirts (there is always a theme for the dance!) just jumped in with both feet. Within a few years, Jerry had become a certified coach, started out with the junior team (with both our daughter on it) and moved on as they got older to the team he now coaches, the all-girls 16 and up Pink Panthers! I started helping coach snow shoe, and became certified to coach swimming, which I have been doing for about five years. SO is a year round program, so we are always doing something!

Q. Track and field is Molly’s specialty. What events does she take part in? Is she best at one? Does she have a favorite?

A. Molly loves to run Cross country. She likes distance running and really likes a 5 or 10K. In high school the course is a 5K and she loves to tell the story of the race she ran where it was so muddy she lost her shoe! And kept going…and actually got a Personal Record! In track she ran everything from the 200 to the 1600, whatever her coach wanted her to run.

Q. You mentioned Molly’s participation in track and field at her high school. Tell us about her experiences with track away from SO.

A. When she got to middle school (6th grade here) the opportunity came for her to join the cross country team. The coach was very happy to have her, and her legs were very long…so it was a great fit! In high school it was a bit more of a struggle with the coach, but we all persevered, and she ran track and cross-country for 4 years, earned a varsity letter, and was a captain her senior year!

Q. How has Special Olympics enriched Molly’s life beyond sport? Has it given her confidence, or friends, etc?

A. Without a doubt Special Olympics has been a driving force in Molly’s life. It has given her friends and social outlets and confidence. She tells me that she never would have had the guts to try out for the high school team if not for SO. Molly is a friendly and outgoing person, but I believe that the happy reception she always received from everyone connected to SO helped her develop that. She considers her SO friends to be her best friends, and the SO calendar is what we plan our lives around!

Part three of my interview with Kerry is next week! In the meantime, I  want to remind you that for every person that becomes a fan of the Thank You Mom Facebook page and/or leaves a comment, Procter and Gamble will donate $1 to support Special Olympics Team USA’s journey to Athens – up to $250,000!