Liberty soccer team hosts Down syndrome awareness night

October 27, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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NEW — 4:30 p.m. Oct. 27, 2014

On April 29, 2002, Melissa Wyman and husband Kevin won what she calls, “the ticket of a lifetime.”

It was the day the Liberty High School soccer coach welcomed her son, Campbell, now a sports-loving, determined 12-year-old that just happens to have Down syndrome.

“It wasn’t easy in the beginning. You don’t know what to expect,” Wyman said. “You hear people say he’s not going to be able do this or that, but I sure wasn’t about to let someone tell me what or who my son should be. He will be Campbell.”

Inspired by Campbell, Wyman, who coaches the Patriots’ C team, and sister-in-law Demaree Kieburtz, who coaches Issaquah’s C team, worked together to create an event that raises awareness about Down syndrome.

The result is an annual match between the two C teams featuring a half-time spectacular in which the squads honor two people with Down syndrome who have had a positive impact in the community. The honorees receive the teams’ Impact Award.

“We thought through storytelling and sharing about people who have Down syndrome that are in our typical lives, we can make a difference and an impact,” Wyman said.

The event is now in its third year and keeps getting bigger, Wyman said. This year’s game is 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at Liberty High School, 16655 Southeast 136th St., Renton.

Spectators can purchase baked goods and raffle tickets for items such as local restaurant vouchers. Fans can also preorder clothing emblazoned with the words “Just as I am” at the game, with proceeds going toward the International Down Syndrome Coalition, a group dedicated to helping and advocating for individuals with Down syndrome from conception and throughout life.

The teams are also seeking nominees for the Impact Award. Community members are asked to write a short nomination letter about someone they know who has Down syndrome, telling a story about how that person positively impacts their family, friends, and community.

Submit stories to Wyman at Melissa@melissawyman.com, or call her at 206-954-8434 for more information about the game and award.

Learn more at www.libertypatriots.net/soccer—girls.html and follow the event on Twitter @KingCoLHS.

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