By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published December 23, 2014
SMYRNA—Hannah Foy of Smyrna is back on the basketball court again.
Last winter, Hannah participated for the first time in the Lil’ Cougars basketball program at St. Joseph School in Marietta.
Hannah, 7 years old, has Down syndrome and is in a mainstream class at a public school. Her older sister Sarah attends St. Joseph. Parents Michael and Beth Foy have sometimes encountered reluctance when exploring programs for Hannah that are offered to other children.
That was not the case with the Lil’ Cougars program, and Hannah was the first child with an intellectual disability to participate. The Georgia Bulletin focused an article on her in March.
“We got a little busy this year and were late registering, but Bob Lepp, the program director, contacted us to make sure that Hannah was still planning to participate,” said Michael. “Again, it was an honor that he took the time to do that and wants Hannah to be part of the program.”
Sarah helps Hannah to learn skills so that she can one day compete in the Special Olympics. Last year she helped her adjust to the Lil’ Cougars program, preparing for drills, and interacting with other players.
“Hannah has made a huge impact on many lives, including her older sister Sarah,” said their father.
Sarah, 10, was honored as the APIVEO Player of the Month for October. APIVEO, or Always Play 4 (IV) Each Other, is a movement to always put others first, especially in the arena of youth sports.
A swimmer, Sarah donated the accompanying $1,000 prize from Zaxby’s to the Buckhead YMCA for its afterschool programs.
“The simple and pure love between sisters has overflowed into one of the greatest examples of leadership I have ever seen,” said Brad Jubin, APIVEO founder.
CBS 46 featured Sarah’s award ceremony in a news segment, and Sarah said she hoped the donation would help many children to play and learn.
“We are very proud of Sarah and blessed to have two very ‘special’ girls,” said Michael.