Donations Help Family Watch Region 8 Woman in Special Olympic World Games

September 6, 2007 - Posted at 9: 58 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR - In 1968, Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics.  Since then, it has become the world's largest program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with mental disabilities.

One Region 8 woman is headed to china to participate in the Special Olympic World Games and thanks to a special donation; her family is planning on making the trip too.

The press lined up for pictures of a local winner on Thursday.

"I'm happy I'm going and it's a chance for me," said 34-year-old Bridgett Copeland.

Bridgett is making a big trip to Shanghai, China in October to play Bocce ball for Team USA in the Special Olympics World Games...and cheering from the stands will be her mother Barbara.

"It's a great opportunity for her. There were four chosen in the state of Arkansas and she was one of them and we are so thrilled for her," said Barbara Copeland.

The Paragould Jaycees presented the Copeland family with a $500 donation to help with travel expenses.

"We would like to give back to our community and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity in any way that we can and the special Olympics is a very worthy cause and like I said, this is a once in a life time opportunity, so we are thrilled to be able to help the Copeland family," said Amber Gill of the Paragould Jaycees.

It's a big trip for someone with an even bigger heart. Bridgett Copeland said proudly, "My family is going and my mom is going and my grandmother is going and my friends are happy for me."

"We have a lot of friends and family that have helped us out and we appreciate so much what people do because it's so important that I do get over there and watch her. It's a lifetime experience I think, so we are excited about it," laughed Barbara Copeland.

The Paragould Jaycee's are also challenging any other organization to match their $500 dollar donation to the Copeland World Games Fund.  An account has been set up to help with travel expenses at Bank of America in Jonesboro.