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Special Olympics athlete: Group makes kids' lives 'spirited'

Paul Grant, assistant store manager of TD Bank on Brickell Avenue,  Special Olympian Andy Miyares and Daniel Hernandez, retail market manager of TD Bank, during the annual Special Olympics Trading Card day hosted by TD Bank on Friday, June 8, 2018.
Paul Grant, assistant store manager of TD Bank on Brickell Avenue, Special Olympian Andy Miyares and Daniel Hernandez, retail market manager of TD Bank, during the annual Special Olympics Trading Card day hosted by TD Bank on Friday, June 8, 2018. rkoltun@miamiherald.com

TD Bank, a major supporter of Special Olympics, hosted its annual Trading Card Day on Friday, June 8, giving athletes the opportunity to connect with community members and distribute playing cards.

This is the 10th year TD has partnered with Special Olympics, and in that time the bank has collected $9 million for the cause. Daniel Hernandez, retail market manager for the Greater Miami Area at TD Bank, said that the ultimate goal is to raise $1 million a year. "TD has a commitment to the community," he said. "We are supporting a cause that invests in our people."

Originally, athletes would visit just one or two branches, but this year they appeared at 10 locations across Miami-Dade County. "It puts things in perspective for us," Hernandez said. Special Olympics athletes usually visit the branches closest to them.

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Special Olympian Andy Miyares shows off his medals during the annual Special Olympics Trading Card day hosted by TD Bank at its Brickell branch on Friday, June 8, 2018. Roberto Koltun rkoltun@miamiherald.com

Andy Miyares, a Special Olympics swimmer and Hall of Fame inductee, visited the TD Bank at 1103 Brickell Ave.

Miyares, who was born with Down Syndrome, has traveled around the world through Special Olympics and is also a Special Olympics International Global Messenger. He has spoken in front of crowds of 100,000 people, met icons such as Michael Phelps, and attended the ESPYs with Tim Shriver.

He said that Special Olympics helps special-needs kids and "makes their lives spirited."

Ana Miyares, Andy's mother, is beyond grateful for Special Olympics and the impact it has had on her son.

Through Special Olympics — founded in the early 1960s by Eunice Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy — Ana Miyares has been able to tag along on Andy's ventures around the world.

"He's taken me to the White House, I've met Eunice [Shriver] ... we've been to Hyannis Port with the Kennedy family," she said. "It's been a fairy tale, an incredible life."

As for Andy's plans for the future — beyond swimming in this year's Special Olympics — he just got engaged to be married.

He is looking forward to competing this summer in Seattle, and his passion for both swimming and the Special Olympics' mission is clear. "Andy is my name, swimming is my game, and Special Olympics is my life."

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