CONTACT: Jenna McPhee
MARLBOROUGH, MA. July 16, 2010 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) is supporting Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) athletes, who are competing in the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska, July 18-23, 2010. A leader in providing healthy lifestyles through sports and healthcare-related programs year-round for individuals with intellectual disabilities, SOMA, will send approximately 50 athletes to the Games.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has been a valued strategic partner of Special Olympics Massachusetts for several years, providing financial support and countless Blue Crew volunteer hours. BCBSMA has also been an instrumental part in the delivery and execution of SOMA's Healthy Athlete's Initiative, specifically Special Smiles®. Through staffing, professional expertise and event support, BCBSMA has helped to provide individuals with intellectual disabilities dental screenings and referral services that they may not have otherwise received. The collaboration on the National Games brings this relationship to the next level.
Before departing Logan Airport for the games early Saturday, July 17, the team from Massachusetts will be touring Fenway Park on the afternoon of July 16 before the Ranger's game starting at 4:30 p.m.
"The match between our two organizations is ultimately what we seek in a partner," stated Robert Johnson, president and CEO of Special Olympics Massachusetts. "The mission of better health and healthcare is one of our top priorities for people with intellectual disabilities. We know Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts shares our goals of healthier lifestyles, and we work together to make this happen for our athletes."
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companiesincluding BCBSMA, is an official partner of Special Olympics North America. For many years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have joined with local Special Olympics programs across the United States. This local support helps to fund events, equipment, transportation and other necessities for competition, in addition to initiatives in health, education, inclusion, athlete leadership development and support for families. This national partnership is part of a larger effort throughout the Blue Cross and Blue Shield System to make a difference nationally and locally by investing resources aimed at fostering healthy lifestyles in their communities.
"Special Olympics Massachusetts provides a greater quality of life to the people it serves by fostering athleticism and encouraging healthy lifestyles," said Jeff Bellows, senior director of corporate relations at BCBSMA. "We are proud to be a supporter of this outstanding organization and to see 50 Massachusetts athletes attend the Nebraska Games."
With sports at the core, Special Olympics is the world's largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities. With programming in the areas of health, youth and education, family support, research and policy change, Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continued opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and their communities.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
BCBSMA (www.bluecrossma.com) was founded 73 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to nearly 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
About the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games
The 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Neb. will showcase and celebrate the Special Olympics movement and athletes from across the United States, while illustrating the power of sports to educate and inform about the true abilities and achievements of people with intellectual disabilities. From July 18-23, 2010, nearly 3,000 athletes will compete in 13 Olympic-style sports, with the support of 1,000 coaches, 8,000 volunteers and an estimated 15,000 family and friends. In addition to sports, the USA National Games will offer various programs in health, wellness and education. To learn more, please visit www.2010specialolympics.org.