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May. 28, 2022 | Saturday
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Special Olympics fundraiser aims to establish chapter in NOTL
Special Olympics has opened doors for Tess Trojan in work, social and educational aspects of her life. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

The Special Olympics has opened doors for Niagara athletes like Tess Trojan, and Nancy Bailey is trying to bring that same opportunity to more Niagara-on-the-Lake residents with special needs.

Trojan has been immersed with sports since she was young. At 30 years old, she is now mentoring kids, competing in tournaments and speaking at national conferences – and she credits her involvement in athletics for much of her success.

Being so involved with sports has helped her achieve many of the things she never knew she wanted to do, and the Special Olympics was the organization that helped her get there, Trojan said. She travelled to Abu Dhabi thanks to the Special Olympics, an experience she said she never would have expected.

“That was a trip of a lifetime, going to Abu Dhabi. That was a lot of fun,” she said.

Now, Trojan works as an usher with the Niagara Ice Dogs and the Meridian Centre when she’s not focusing on golf, 10-pin bowling and basketball, which she said are her favourite sports at the moment.

Jane Trojan, Tess’s mother, said her daughter has been interested in sports since she was very young, but the Special Olympics made more opportunities available to her.

“It got her out with other kids, and it was kind of a protected environment. We knew what she was up to. She’s always just loved sports, and she’s just very physical and very active, so it’s been a really good fit,” she said.

Trojan said she’s happy to be able to bring her experiences to others.

“My goal was working with kids and recreation. I’m doing the special needs activity program at Brock. I mentor a young girl with Down syndrome a couple times a week to keep me busy, and I really do enjoy it,” Trojan said.

Bailey, a realtor with Engel and Volkers, has been pushing to bring a Special Olympics community to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“I attended the opening of our shop in Oakville last fall and met a child who was so sweet and so positively affected by Special Olympics. I knew that when I opened our NOTL shop that I would get involved, too,” Bailey said.

“I found out that in the Ontario chapter, Niagara-on-the-Lake was the only place that did not have a community and I was determined to change that,” she added.

Bailey has been working on raising money to bring her goal of a NOTL chapter to life. A concert on Sept. 4 at the Jackson-Triggs Amphitheatre will be a fundraiser for the chapter.

“Club 27: A rock concert experience” will feature tributes to singers and musicians such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, all of whom died by the age of 27.

The concert will support Special Olympics Ontario and the push for a Niagara-on-the-Lake community.

“It takes a village to keep the spirit of Special Olympics alive and to be part of a global family. By getting involved we can make it possible for people with intellectual disabilities to experience the transformative power of sport,” Bailey said.

Tickets can be purchased  at for $45. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.