Because Disney executive Susan O’Day not only founded and led Florida’s Special Olympics Invitational Golf Tournament but also raised over $3.5 million, she will receive the 2016 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Award at an autumn event.
The Special Olympics Florida Champions' Gala will serve as backdrop when O’Day accepts her award. The festivities are scheduled for 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, located at 10100 Dream Tree Blvd. in Lake Buena Vista.
"Susan exemplifies the Special Olympics mission and the spirit of Eunice Kennedy Shriver," Sherry Wheelock, Special Olympics Florida’s president and CEO, said. "Susan and Disney are tremendous supporters of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities and the power of sports to break barriers and unite people of all abilities."
With O’Day’s oversight, the number of participants served by the organization has increased by 62 percent — to over 35,000 Special Olympics Florida athletes annually. Based in Clermont, the organization offers year-round sports and health services to individuals with intellectual disabilities free of charge, to enhance their fitness, well-being and skills.
"I'm incredibly honored to receive this award on behalf of The Walt Disney Company," O’Day said. "I have admired the Special Olympics and its support of athletes and families with special needs since its founding by one of my heroes, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. It is a pleasure to work with such an inspirational organization, and I look forward to our continued partnership."