Nick McGraw
Nick McGraw of Bend was Special Olympics Oregon’s 1st drawing winner of 2023 thanks to his efforts in raising over $200 for Polar Plunge! SOOR’s largest and most impactful fundraiser of the year. Polar Plunge invites individuals and teams to “plunge” into icy bodies of water throughout the state to raise funds and awareness for the vital services provided by our organization to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Nick was entered into a drawing for a Columbia Sportswear Gift Card valued at $200 – and while he was happy to be our winner, this generous born-and-raised Oregonian graciously donated the prize back “for the greater mission” of Special Olympics Oregon.   
Nick, who is originally from Portland and moved to Bend six years ago, has joined the Penelope’s Pack Polar Plunge Team in honor of his brother-in-law's (and best friend’s) niece, who has Down Syndrome. “The way the world is going, the need is so high right now,” he says. “Folks need to do what’s good for their souls, spread kindness to others and make a change – a real positive difference – in people’s lives.” When asked if Nick plans to fully submerge himself during the Plunge event, or just stick a toe into the frigid lake, he makes it clear: “I’m all in! No halfsies for me!” 
“Folks need to do what’s good for their souls, spread kindness to others and make a change – a real positive difference – in people’s lives.”
- Nick, Penelope's Pack Plunge Team
A former military service member who now works for a local excavation company, Nick enjoys living in Bend as a “real community-based, community-minded place.” He appreciates the ways “people reach out to each other, offer mutual support, and really look out for each other.” He believes that living in a place of such spectacular natural beauty inspires a “slower pace” where residents seem intent on “having a good time, doing good things and being a good person.” Once he heard about Polar Plunge, learned about SOOR’s mission, and connected with the Penelope’s Pack team, it was a “no-brainer” to donate to such a worthy cause and encourage others to join in the fun! He insisted, “Whether it’s something small, like jumping into a frozen lake, or big, like donating lots of money or volunteering a ton of hours, why not do it to help better someone’s life?” 
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to Nick and his generous contribution to SOOR, his participation on the Penelope’s Pack Team, his willingness to go all-in on his first-ever Polar Plunge event, and his gracious re-donation of the original prize drawing of a Columbia Sportswear gift card. We couldn’t agree more with Nick’s parting sentiment: “Don’t overcomplicate things – keep it simple, and just have a good heart!” Thanks Nick! 

Luis Sanchez 
Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) is proud to offer athletes like Luis Sanchez from the High Desert Local Program, access to sports training, competition, and cultures of inclusion. 
Having participated in a variety of SOOR sport events over the past 5 years, Luis’ involvement with Special Olympics Oregon and in his community extends beyond that as an athlete, to that of also as a wrestling coach outside of SOOR.
And in 2023, add to that list – POLAR PLUNGER! 

Fresh off its 50th Anniversary in 2022, Special Olympics Oregon gives athletes opportunities to demonstrate courage, experience joy, and share in the gifts of sport. 
Find out more about the Polar Plunge at plungeoregon.org »
“Special Olympics has helped me make close friends. My coaches have helped me run faster, jump higher, kick further, and I have won many medals. I love Special Olympics because I love helping my teammates. I learned through Special Olympics that you have good sportsmanship and you have to be ok with losing sometimes. If you don’t have good sportsmanship, it can make you look bad, and can let your team down. This is my first year Polar Plunging and I’m really excited!”
- Luis Sanchez
2022 Highlights
2022 was an incredible year filled with travel, medals and so many smiles!

Support SOOR athletes as we move into 2023 with a tax-deductible donation.

Our Mission
Special Olympics Oregon provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children, youth and adults living with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.