Special Olympics Bay of Islands athlete Rachel Harvie is looking forward to using her new role as Global Messenger to educate people about Special Olympics and encourage them to include and accept people with intellectual disabilities.
The 19-year-old student joined Special Olympics in 2008 as a founding member of the Bay of Islands club. She now competes in swimming and equestrian and has travelled all over the country to compete with her Club, at both regional and national competitions.
Rachel is also the athlete representative on the Special Olympics Bay of Islands Committee and has been heavily involved in fundraising for the Club. She’s proud to have set up a Facebook group for athletes to discuss things that she can then bring to the Committee’s attention.
“I fell in love with Special Olympics – it was one of the things I felt normal in and the only place I could meet people like me,” Laura says. “It gave me an opportunity to compete at swimming and equestrian and to make new friends who became a second family to me.” Outside of Special Olympics Rachel has also been recognised for her sporting achievements. In both 2014 and 2015 she took out the Athlete with a Disability category of the ASB Northland Secondary School Sports Awards.
Rachel also has several volunteer commitments – she has donated her time to the SPCA and is a buddy for the younger students with disabilities at her school.