Joy MacLeod representing Special Olympics Colorado at World Games in Austria

Posted at 7:00 AM, Mar 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-18 12:20:48-04

LITTLETON, Colo. -- There is nothing like a pizza and cupcake party at the Garlic Knot when someone is about to live out one of their dreams.

Joy MacLeod is a Special Olympics Colorado athlete and her friends gave her a big sendoff before she headed to Austria to compete in snow shoeing at the Special Olympics World Games.

She didn’t believe it when she was invited.

“Last year about this time I came back from Copper Mountain and Mindy (Watrous) from Special Olympics Colorado called me and said ‘you’re going to go to Austria’ and I said ‘I what?,’” Joy told Denver7.

Her coaches say Joy is incredibly deserving of the honor.

“Joy is really competitive,” is how Mary MacLeod described the athlete. “She really focuses in on the sport she is competing in at the time and she really does her best.”

“This is the chance of a lifetime,” Cathy VanHeukelem said. “With Special Olympics it’s your heart and not your abilities and she’s got the heart.”

Joy is also known for participating in a wide variety of sports.

“I think what’s so impressive about Joy is just how many sports she does -- skiing, snowshoeing, skating, gymnastic, basketball and all kinds of things,” friend Jean Illig explained while noting Joy has been awarded more than 900 Special Olympic medals.

“Joy is a delight,” Jean went on. “She is one of the most happy, joyous people that I know.”

Joy just has one dream while she is in Austria.

“I hope that everybody would watch for me and cheer me on,” she said.


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