Fernando Lazcano and his wife Ingrid Hirstin Lazcano know how mercy and charitable actions work when you help your neighbors in their physical and spiritual needs.
“If you have bread and can share with others, you feel more human,” says Fernando, former consul of Bolivia in Miami and San Francisco. “It’s worth the effort.”
Less than two months before the 2015 Special Olympics in Los Angeles begin, the Lazcanos have been able to raise $12,500 towards a personal goal of $50,000 to help support a dozen athletes with intellectual disabilities from Bolivia.
Other major collectors of donations are Alana Donovan McGee, who raised $48,850 in memory of his father Bill Donovan, who died last September; Dr. Edward Ellison, who collected $42,850; and Debi Anderson and Helena Grayo, who raised $20,900 and $25,463 respectively.
In a letter to her friends, Mrs. Lazcano indicated that every $2, 500 collected would go to sponsoring one Bolivian athlete. The Lazcano's company, Andean Dream, (Sue√±o Andino) is also a “champion” sponsor for Special Olympics and its donating 48,000 of their Royal Quinoa cookies for the athletes. The company is located in located in Los Angeles and distributes products derived from the Royal Quinoa, a native nutritious grain of the Bolivian Andes.
Due to lack of money to pay their airfare, accommodation, food and transport, some members of the Bolivian delegation were in danger of not being able to compete in Los Angeles.
“With the collected money we’re going to be able to sponsor four Bolivian athletes,” said Larry Eastland, who led the group of over 100 young volunteers in Santa Monica to raise the money. “They worked hard for over four months.”
Patricia Madrid, 29, one of the fundraiser’s volunteers, said her inspiration to participate was her father, Carlos Madrid, who formed a nonprofit organization that helped people with disabilities in East Los Angeles.
“We did this because we are single professional adults who have received so much in our lives,” she said. “We recognize that we are citizens of the world and we are all united in this challenge and needed to help athletes who will represent Bolivia.”
Athlete expenses include food, medical care, entertainment and housing at the Athletic Villages at USC and UCLA.
Bolivia will send 12 athletes and coaches to Los Angeles for the World Games. They come from all over the country, including La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba, Sucre, Tarija, Potosí and Santa Cruz de la Sierra and will compete in track and field, gymnastics, bocce and tennis.
Rocío Cuenca (bocce) and Adriana Estrada (bocce), Francisca Miranda and Laura Mu√±oz lead the Bolivian delegation along with Mariel Pereira, Mary Persons (gymnastics), Luis Pedraza, Gabriel Pe√±a, Marina Rejas and Macy Ucra (track and field), Edson Sánchez and Romeo Sea (tennis).
“The most important thing is to help our special athletes to feel like true stars,” said Fernando Lazcano.