NEWBERRY — In her second year of competing, Kekola Boyd participated in bowling at the 2018 Special Olympics in Seattle, Washington where she returned home with two silver medals and a fourth place award.
But before Boyd boarded the plane to Seattle, she had to go through eight weeks of training in Greenville to prepare.
“After she was chosen to go to Nationals we got training set up where Andrea Reel, one of the assistant coaches, helped to take her after hours almost weekly, sometimes twice a week, to make sure she was up to par for her trip to Seattle,” said Special Olympics Coach Mary Catherine Reynolds.
Boyd said her favorite part of bowling is throwing the ball down the lane and getting strikes.
This was a trip of many firsts as Boyd had also never flown before, she said she was ready to panic when the plane took off, but remained calm.
“The plane ride was scary at first, when it took off I was ready to panic, but I just said I’ll be alright, we prayed about it,” she said.
Once the plane touched down in Seattle, Boyd and the rest of the Special Olympics participants were able to take in all of the sights and sounds, Boyd said overall she had a good time.
“My favorite part was the opening ceremony, it was really nice, I really enjoyed myself, the weather was nice and I had a good time,” she said.
Throughout the competition, Boyd was also able to meet new people and exchange pins with other participants.
“They have a different pin for all the United States and all of the participants were given a certain amount and they could trade them out to see how many they could get,’ Reynolds said. She added that Boyd ended up with a lot of pins.
Boyd hopes that she will be able to return to the Special Olympics in the future and come back home with the gold. Reynolds said that although they were cheering in South Carolina it was nice to be part of the experience.
“It was exciting to be part of it a little, we would’ve loved to have been there to see it, but we were still rooting for them and praying for them for safe travels, this was Kekola’s first time so we were really excited for her and her mom and that her mom was able to go with her,” she said. “It was a lot of paperwork and training, but it was all worth it, it helped Kekola bring medals home.”
Reynolds also extended a thanks to those who played a role in helping Boyd along with Andrew and Todd Johnson get to the Special Olympics.
“I’d just like to thank all of the community especially Komatsu, they were a big supporter in helping to raise the funds for Kekola and for Andrew and Todd Johnson, we raised the money for all three to go and they were paid in full. They actually got spending money, too, which the Ruth S. Pugh Foundation gave them so all three would have spending money to go,” she said.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.