The inspiration behind the book
Our fiercely, courageous daughter, Samantha Michelle Loewi (Sammy), was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at 18 months of age. But during her short 22 years with us she was our greatest teacher in life lessons. She spoke up often and loudly for others who were “different.”
Often ignored in high school, she, like many other young people with physical, intellectual and medical challenges, simply wanted the world to look past what made them “different” and listen—really listen—to who they are and what they have to offer. A medaled swimmer in national disability competitions, an accomplished pianist, saxophonist, artist, photographer, and MDA spokesperson, Sammy was a passionate activist on behalf of all people who are different.
SHOUT is a reflection of how much she valued all people and how she would encourage us to look past the differences and discover the talent, insight, courage, humor, wisdom, passion, tenacity and joy of all differently abled kids.
Watch a short video of Sammy Loewi’s Life in pictures.
About the author
Patricia Fotheringham Loewi was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she taught English and history before moving to Washington, D.C. Pat worked on Capitol Hill doing press work in those halcyon days when Congress was collaborating.
She is currently living in Denver, Colorado, near her daughter Kim, Kim’s husband Jeff, and her three granddaughters. (Pat’s husband, Andy, passed away from kidney cancer in 2007). Pat has spent most of her professional career in telecommunications, radio ownership and nonprofit work. She served as CEO for Special Olympics Colorado as well as the Kempe Foundation for Abused and Neglected Children. However, she admits to learning most about kids who are “different” from her daughter Sammy’s experiences of feeling marginalized. Sammy was in a wheelchair with Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy from the age of 10 until her untimely death at age 22.
Pat is therefore motivated to help change the culture by promoting kindness, compassion and acceptance of kids who are “different.”
When Sammy was in the fourth grade, her class at Graland Country Day School in Denver was searching for a community project. At the time, I was CEO of Special Olympics of Colorado and Sammy suggested creating a Special Olympics Day.
That simple one-day program 15 years ago has since evolved into an ongoing year-long program that partners Graland students with children who have special needs. Now known as the Graland Sammy Loewi Unified Neighborhood Games, the program pairs students based on interest and temperament. Those pairs come together regularly over the course of the school year for a variety of activities. They begin with simple get-acquainted meetings and evolve to bowling outings, holiday get-togethers, joint art projects and picnics and finally a Special Olympics competition at the end of the school year.
The Buddy Program is completely described in the book including a detailed curriculum. This is a program that can be tailored to any K—12 school in the country. Also, the Special Olympics Project Unify creates buddy programs that have proven to be very successful. Read more >