On the 149th episode of Listen In With KNN on Fox Sports 1340AM, host Kelsey Nicole Nelson welcomed legendary actor, singer, Special Olympics Global Ambassador and New York Times best-selling author Maureen McCormick to the show. She’s best known for her role as Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch.
McCormick was motivated to become a Special Olympics Global Ambassador in part due to her older brother Denny having an intellectual disability. It was a natural fit for her and was a huge admirer of Eunice Shriver, who was the founder of Special Olympics.
“I am just thrilled to be a part of Special Olympics family. What makes me excited about the future of the world is when I’m with the Special Olympics athletes, my brother and his friends because I believe that these people have so much love and so much to give us all. I believe so much in inclusion for them all and ending discrimination,” McCormick said.
While growing up, her father was a school teacher and decided to go into special education when her brother was born. Denny would get bullied in school and come home crying. Then, he made it his mission to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.
“I think it’s so important for them to be included in everything. I learn so much about life from Special Olympians. It’s important for them to be physically fit and healthy and live long lives. What I love about them doing the sports, you see their courage grow and experiencing joy which gives us joy. It builds their confidence and it’s important to have inclusive friendships,” she said. “That makes us better human beings.”
Recently, McCormick was in Washington D.C. where she participated in Special Olympics Capitol Hill Day and was lucky to be in the room with all the Special Olympians and their families.
“I think everyone gets it who is lucky enough to have someone in their family with special needs. It’s really a gift to be in a family like that. There’s so many things that we have to fight for and protect our family members. We have this desire to share it with everyone because I believe my life is so much richer because of my brother,” she said.
Now, McCormick is focusing her efforts on access to quality health care for people with intellectual disabilities and empowering them and their siblings to create a new generation of leaders for inclusion.
“A lot of times, people with special needs sometimes have a hard time really communicating what is going on. If I get a headache or a pain, I think I can somehow communicate that with a doctor in a different way that my brother can. So I need to be a champion for him to help communicate that to the doctors. It takes a village and it’s important that we all work together to make sure that their health is okay and things are not going unchecked,” she said.
As a result, Special Olympics is increasing access to quality and inclusive health care. This is something that McCormick believes every Special Olympian and people with intellectual disabilities deserve to have.
“Health is everything and it’s not good when we don’t have that. We all need to be educated and know what to look for. People with intellectual disabilities often do lack access to real quality health care and prevention. We just want to spread awareness and bring that to everybody.”