Latham Launches Fundraising Campaign to Benefit Pope’s International Equestrian Dream

February 14, 2011

Latham Centers resident Zanders Pope will compete in Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece this Summer. Latham Centers, Inc. is challenging the Cape community to support the dreams and accomplishments of Alexandra ―Zanders‖ Pope, a young adult with a rare genetic disorder, poised to compete in horseback riding at the 2011 Special Olympics World Games in Athens Greece, June 25–July 4, 2011.

Pope, 25, was selected to represent the U.S. in the equestrian division of the Games along with only nine other riders in the country. Pope resides in Yarmouthport in an adult group home operated by Latham Centers for individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome.

   “We are so proud of Zanders, and fully support her dreams. She has accomplished so much during her time with us, according to Anne McManus, Executive Director of Latham Centers. We are now asking the community to rally around her both emotionally and financially, as we ourselves are doing. She has definitely inspired us and deserves our support.”

Before traveling overseas, Pope must first attend a national training camp in San Diego at the end of March as a trial test before her three-week trip to Greece beginning June 18. A native of Connecticut, Pope began riding horses when she was 12 years old. At the time, she refused to participate in Special Olympics and insisted on riding in a regular program. As Zanders grew older, her riding became more limited due to weight gain, a common occurrence with individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome who often face lifelong growth, metabolic and behavioral problems from the disorder.

  “My favorite thing to do is ride and care for horses. I’ve done this since I was a little girl. It’s one thing I am really good at and is my passion in life,  shares Pope on her Facebook page where she started to promote her horseback riding activities.  I am thrilled to be chosen to represent the United States in the 2011 Special Olympics World Games…I really want to go and visit another country.”

Pope trains locally at Diamondsedge Farm in West Barnstable with Brenda Tri who nominated Pope for the World Games. Tri works with numerous special needs programs and individuals on the Cape. The Latham resident also loves animals and stays busy volunteering at the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable while attending Project Forward at Cape Cod Community College—a vocational training program for students with significant learning disabilities. She also enjoys the company of her sister Sunie, a community actor living in Brewster.

Tax-deductible donations to Zanders’ Special Olympics travel fund can be made online at www.lathamcenters.org by clicking Make a Donation or by mail payable to Latham Centers, 1646 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631 with Alexandra Pope noted in the memo section—both online or on personal checks. Thanks for your support!

“Dreams are free, so free your dreams.” 
~Astrid Alauda

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