By Ashley Carney
A mother is not only a caretaker and a supporter, but a friend and a helping hand. She’s a superhero, and someone you can always count on. Special Olympics athlete and recent mother, Jennifer Ali, is a perfect example of how these characteristics are seen in mothers every day.
Jennifer’s life changed in 2003 when she was late to work in Colorado and got in a tragic car accident. She was rushed to the hospital and put in a medically induced coma on life support, where she remained for three months.
After recovering from the accident, Jennifer experienced some cognitive and verbal issues, but she never let anything hold her back. Inspired by her older brother, who is also a Special Olympics athlete, Jennifer joined the community and her life changed once again, this time for the better.
“I’m lucky. It was a miracle to still be here today and I’m taking advantage of every day and just having fun,” Jennifer said.
When asked who her role model was, Jennifer was quick to say her mother, who has been her inspiration for everything.
“She teaches me things that I’ve lost. She’s just an awesome mom. I love her to death,” she said.
In 2017, Jennifer brought home her own newborn son and “little friend,” Elijah.
Since joining Special Olympics more than five years ago, Jennifer has found a love for bocce ball. She’s made many new friendships, and has enjoyed the tight bond she has formed with her bocce teammates. Even when she is not competing, she is in full support of her friends.
Jennifer received her first gold medal in bocce ball at the 2016 Summer Games, and she is looking forward to competing in front of a bigger audience at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.
Now, she is hoping to bring home another gold medal at the USA Games.
“I’m excited. I can’t wait to have fun,” Jennifer said.
Not all heroes wear capes. In fact, they’re the ones we call when we’re in a rut, or just need someone to talk to. And they’re people like Jennifer who put others first and never ask for anything in return.
To Jennifer, and all the wonderful mothers out there, thank you for being our Wonder Women.