Cindy Dexter and her daughter, Chance, geared up for their swim relay at the State Summer Games while Cindy’s husband, Mark, watched on with their other daughter Kaylee, Chance’s twin. The freestyle relay is an event Kaylee was used to competing in with her mother and twin sister, but this year she was forced to sit on the sidelines, where she cheered on her mother, sister and team. Kaylee was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015 and recently doctors told her and her family the terrible news that the cancer is now terminal.
“Just a few months earlier Kaylee was competing at the regional swimming event with her mother, twin sister, and other teammates, but her last surgery took place a week ago and unfortunately took her out of competition,” Mark said. “My wife, Cindy, has been participating in Special Olympics for more than 40 years and involved our daughters in swimming, a sport she loves and will be competing in at the 2018 USA Games in Seattle next month.”
“It was very special to me to see Kaylee receive her medal even though she couldn’t compete today.” – Cindy Dexter
After her relay team from Barron County Special Olympics received their bronze medals, Kaylee was unexpectedly called up to receive an honorary gold medal for her accomplishments in Special Olympics in a special presentation just for her made possible by Special Olympics staff. Even though Kaylee didn’t compete, everybody knew it would make her day. The swim relay really is a family affair for the Dexters. Swimming and competing with one another and supporting each other in Special Olympics has been a very important bonding opportunity since Kaylee and Chance joined their mom in Special Olympics.
“It was very special to me to see Kaylee receive her medal even though she couldn’t compete today,” Cindy said after the medal presentation. Despite not being able to compete with her mother and sister, Kaylee’s face lit up when presented with her honorary gold medal. Family, coaches, and Special Olympics staff all surrounded Kaylee and the Dexters as one big family and took pictures with her and her medal.
“The Dexter family is special because even through the hardships they’re facing now, they don’t complain and always give 100 percent,” said Martin Sandberg, swim coach for Barron County Special Olympics. “Coaching them is inspiring and makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing when dedicating your time to Special Olympics.”
And for Kaylee’s twin sister, Chance, she hopes to dedicate her future in Special Olympics to her sister. “I really like competing with my mom, and I hope to keep competing for my sister,” Chance said.