Special Olympics Chicago to Lead 2018 South Side Irish Parade

Special Olympics Chicago to Lead 2018 South Side Irish Parade Special Olympics Chicago will celebrate its 50th year of offering athletic training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Amyloidosis Support Groups and the Martin McGarry Family are the 2018 Parade Honoree. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to the support, education and empowerment of Amyloidosis patients, caregivers and former caregivers.

”It’s been a long standing tradition for the South Side Irish Parade to honor nonprofit organizations that work hard to help others in our neighborhood and this year we are especially proud to honor Amyloidosis Support Groups, the McGarry Family and Special Olympics Chicago,” said Ed Haggerty, co-chair of the South Side Irish Parade Committee. “In fact, the first Special Olympics Games were held right here in Chicago in 1968 at Soldier Field and we are excited to toast their 50 years of serving athletes in our community.”

Special Olympics Chicago is one of the largest programs in the country offering training and competition for more than 7,500 athletes in 22 sports throughout the year. The organization provides opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Special Olympic programming is available in over 122 Chicago Public Schools throughout the city and in 23 Chicago Park District locations.

“We are honored to be selected as the Grand Marshal of the South Side Irish Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and look forward to sharing the experience with many of our local athletes, their families and our supporters from the Southside and throughout Chicagoland,” said Kevin Magnuson, president of Special Children’s Charities and Special Olympics Chicago.

Special Olympics Chicago’s largest fundraiser, the annual Polar Plunge, will return to North Avenue Beach on Mar. 4. To show their support, the South Side Irish Parade will jump in with a special Parade Polar Plunge team.

Parade Honoree, Amyloidosis Support Groups, provides information and resources on research and treatment of Amyloidosis to individuals and families suffering from the disease. Amyloidosis is a rare disease that affects the heart, kidneys, nervous system, gastrointestinal tract and other organs. Beverly/Morgan Park resident and former Golden Gloves Boxing title winner Martin McGarry is battling Amyloidosis and has lost several close family members to the disease. He resorted to seeking medical treatment as far away as Germany before more local medical centers and doctors became familiar with the disease. McGarry hopes to help more patients and families find medical resources with access to treatment plans early on in the disease cycle to support stronger outcomes. Learn more about Amyloidosis support groups at amyloidosissupport.org or 866-404-7539.

The South Side Irish Parade will kick off the festivities with a pre-parade fundraiser Sat., Feb. 3, 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St. The event features raffle prizes, a silent auction, the South Side Irish Parade Queen Selection, live Irish music and much more.

The parade is operated by the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. More than 100 volunteers work year-round to ensure this family-friendly celebration continues for future generations. Visit southsideirishparade.org for more information.