Businesswoman Nancy Kim lends her time, talent and energy to benefit Special Olympics China
by Jacob Ulevich
Nancy Kim, owner of Imperial Tours is a relative newcomer to the world of Special Olympics. Her involvement with the movement began during the summer of 2002 when she volunteered to serve as the Chair of the Special Olympics East Asia Benefit Committee. Her work on A Very Special Christmas: Celebrate the Spirit, a holiday gala benefitting Special Olympics China National Sports Development Seminars, led to an outpouring of support and donations as well as a substantial increase in public awarenesss of Special Olympics China among the foreign business and expatriate communities.
Kim, a longtime resident of Beijing, was able to utilize her network of friends and business acquaintances to galvanize volunteers, donations and sponsorships for this first annual Christmas fundraiseer. Her experience, while not the traditional one involving athlete training and competition, was nevertheless eye-opening and rewarding. Of the event, she said, "Having spent quite a lot of time in the Far East, I know that having a child with mental disabilities is often looked upon with shame. I am confident that with Special Olympics' effort here it will help to eliminate this stigma... It was great to see so many people helping [at the event] not for any personal gain, but merely because they wanted to help in any way they could."
The black-tie event was held at the historic China Club and included dinner, dancing and speeches by Special Olympics athletes, as well as live and silent auctions which attracted generous donations such as roundtrip airline tickets; a Disneyland Tokyo package; health club memberships; jewelry; and a tennis racquet autographed by the world's number one tennis player, Lleyton Hewitt. The event, attended by 150 people raised more than US$20,000 through ticket and raffle sales as well as the auctions.
While Kim seems to be a natural at putting these types of events together, she continues to be moved by the cause of helping people with mental disabilities in China. When working on the benefit, Kim was introduced to Jia Sirui, a Special Olympics athlete and former International Global Messenger from China. "Jia Sirui inspires all of us to work harder and to appreciate everything that we have been given," she said.
Kim is committed to Special Olympics and is already working hard on two more special events to take place, this time, in Shanghai - host of the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
James Ulevich is the Information Techonology and Communications Specialist for Special Olympics East Asia
Published in Spirit; The Magazine Of Special Olympics, Quarter 2 2003