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Plunging For Special Olympics And Rosa

| January 05, 2011, 12:46 PM | 0 Comments

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Will you be plunging this year along with Raven’s Quarterback Joe Flacco and Pauly D from the Jersey Shore? If not, will you be cheering on and helping to support the Special Olympics Maryland as thousands of people plunge into the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay in Sandy Point State Park just outside of Annapolis, Maryland?

Saturday, January 29, 2011 will mark the 15th Anniversary of the Maryland State Police Polar Bear plunge to benefit Special Olympics  Maryland. To register for the plunge, all it takes is $50 in pledges, nerves of steel, and the desire to have a good time and help out Special Olympics Maryland. If jumping into “just over freezing” water is not your thing, general donations are graciously accepted, and you can even sponsor a plunger!

Rosa Marcellino and family

Courtesy Photo. Rosa Marcellino, 9, second from left, is shown with siblings Maddie, 13, Gigi, 11, and Nick, 15, during the Special Olympics state games, held in June. Rosa has Down syndrome and is the inspiration behind “Rosa’s Law” that removes the terms "mentally retarded" and “mental retardation" from federal education, health and labor laws.

This particular plunge has even more meaning for the area. Earlier this year bill S.2781  was signed into federal law on October 5, 2010 by President Barack Obama. Known as “Rosa’s Law,” the law removes the terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from federal health, education and labor policy and replaces them with people first language “individual with an intellectual disability” and “intellectual disability.”

Rosa’s Law began right here in Anne Arundel County with Nina Marcellino, an Edgewater mother of four children, including Rosa, a child with Down syndrome. In 2009, Marcellino learned that Rosa had been labeled retarded at school. Marcellino didn’t allow the R-word in her house, and none of her children described their sister that way. Nina teamed up with other parents and her state delegate to introduce a bill to change the terminology in Maryland state law. The bill passed and was spearheaded on the National level by Senator Barbara Mikulski. While there were many people testifying about this bill, one 11-year-old boy summed it up best:

What you call people is how you treat them. What you call my sister is how you will treat her. If you believe she’s ‘retarded,’ it invites taunting, stigma. It invites bullying and it also invites the slammed doors of being treated with respect and dignity.

–Nick Marcellino, Rosa’s brother

Please support the plunge. Eye On Annapolis will be there and we hope to see you as well!

Banner photo: Courtesy Ian Furlong via Special Olympics Maryland

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Category: Crime News, Events, LIFE IN THE AREA, OPINION

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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