World Down Syndrome Day Athlete Profile: Daniel Cowen

Athlete Profile – Daniel Cowen 

“Great people, great coaches, great volunteers – what more could we ask for”. This was Cathy Cowen’s response when asked why other parents should have their children join Special Olympics Manitoba (SOM). Daniel Cowen is a 20-year-old who simply loves to be active, front-and-centre, and sharing his joy with others. Surrounded by his loving parents and sister, Steve (father) and Cathy (mother) shared that SOM was the next step for their family when Daniel started aging out of his programming, nearly 7 years ago. This is one of the many reasons why they love Special Olympics so much, “there is no age cap on his participation” they shared. Cathy and Steve went on to express that “we looked into it, we knew some families that were already involved, and SOM fit seamlessly into our lives”. 

Over the past 7 years, Daniel has taken part in a wide range of the programs that SOM has to offer, “he just loves it”, they shared. Daniel expressed that his favourites are now Basketball and used to be Track and Field. Right before COVID-19 led to postponed in-person programming, Daniel had applied for the Baseball program, and he hopes that he will be able to participate in that soon. As for keeping active during these challenging times, Daniel, Cathy, and Steve shared that cycling, walking the dog, playing basketball at home or at the neighbourhood hoops, and even using his easy roller (self-propelled cart), are all activities they have been enjoying as a family to stay active. 

The connections they have developed over the years with other athletes, families, and volunteers are what makes SOM so extraordinary, and is a large reason why they hope in-person programming returns soon. “It’s a social connection for us too, we get to see the best in people and Daniel gets to be active”, Cathy and Steve shared. A trip down memory lane allowed them to share their most memorable experience with SOM, and they expressed that “seeing Daniel on the podium after his 50-metre track race was incredible, no matter if he wins or loses the volunteers are always supportive and make the experience so meaningful”. Daniel loves to be active, and SOM is a “great way to have kids involved in sport”, Cathy shared. The athletes know that they “can do what everyone else can do”, Cathy discussed, and SOM gives them the opportunity to do that, and “it keeps him out of trouble”, Steve joked. Overall, Daniel, Steve, and Cathy have all had a wonderful experience over the last 7 years, surrounded by a family that loves to be involved, Daniel is excited for new opportunities with SOM and eager for in-person programming to return.