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Two Cumberland County natives selected to compete in International Special Olympics

Two of Central Pennsylvania's finest will soon be competing in the International Special Olympics in Austria.

Tom McConnell of Enola and Dana Shick of Mechanicsburg are two of the 12 people in the United States who were selected to compete in Speed Skating.

There will be 3,000 athletes, 5,000 spectators and 1,500 coaches in Austria for the games.

The sport may be about speed but it's also about forging ahead each time you may feel like falling. Tim and Dana practice with Area M of the Special Olympics.

"It's like a dream actually and it's Dana's dream and we just follow her and her passions," says Dana's mom, Lynn Shick.

Lynn says Dana has been skating for 5 years now and has excelled at it.

Tim, however, has been skating for much of his life; 22 years!

"First of all to even get selected to go [to the games], that's rare because they don't have many spots," says Daphne McConnell, Tim's mom. "So the fact that he got selected to go is awesome."

Tim has competed in the World Games before, winning gold and two bronze medals.

Special Olympics is about acceptance and having fun, more so than winning medals, says Head Coach Brett Eshenour.

"We try to make sure they have fun and understand sportsmanship and the effort and attitude. The things that are most important."

For Lynn and Daphne, they say Special Olympics has made a true difference in the lives of their kids.

"It's been fantastic for his growth and development," says Daphne.

"It has helped her branch out. It has helped her increase her self confidence. It's a social network of friends and just people to hang out with," says Lynn.

Tim says he enjoys cheering on his teammates and of course, he's still hoping to get another medal.

For Dana, she has a lot of fun with her friends and is excited to go to Austria because that's where her ancestors are from.

The pair heads overseas March 12th and will compete sometime between the 18th and 24th.

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