Beverly Farm is thrilled to announce Kathleen Gastler, a resident at the 125-year-old home for adults with developmental disabilities, has won one gold and two silver medals in Bocce for Team Illinois at the Special Olympics USA Games. More than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all over the US and the Caribbean participated in the USA Games, held June 5-11 in Orlando, FL.
Gastler won a gold medal in Ladies Singles Bocce. She also earned two silver medals: one in Ladies Doubles Bocce with partner Karyn Mrotek from Palos Heights, IL, and one in Team Bocce with her Team Illinois partners that again included Mrotek, as well as Kenny Ogden and Frank Kajdanowski. Ogden and Kajdanowski are both from Chicago.
Gastler is originally from Martinsburg, Missouri. She has been a Beverly Farm resident since 2011 and currently lives in a group home setting on the Farm’s beautiful campus in Godfrey, IL. She has been playing bocce for 10 years.
“I was excited to represent Beverly Farm and Illinois at the USA Games,” said Kathleen. “Our bocce coach (Maggie Rutenbeck of Bloomington, IL) helped me do my best. I felt blessed to get to go and compete and win the medals I did.”
Special Olympics sports provide people with special needs the opportunity to have social contact, develop physically, and gain self-confidence. Bocce is one of the most popular sports in Special Olympics. At the 2022 USA Games, bocce events involved more than 300 athletes who competed in singles, doubles, team, and unified competitions.
“Kathleen trained countless hours to hone her craft of Bocce and set her goal and achieved it with determination and pure grace,” said Rachel Lollis, Group Home Administrator at Beverly Farm. “Kathleen is the first of our residents to achieve a place at the Special Olympics USA Games. The excitement surrounding her place on Team Illinois was a dream come true and the fact that she brought the gold medal back to her Beverly Farm Family is unsurmountable. I look forward to continuing to watch Kathleen grow as an athlete.”
About Beverly Farm
Beverly Farm was founded in 1897 by Dr. William H.C. Smith and his wife, Elizabeth, to establish a caring home that included socialization, proper medical care, healthy diet, physical exercise, education, recreation and meaningful work for people living with developmental disabilities. Today it is a planned community that looks and feels like a neighborhood. There are homes, a recreation center with a pool, an equestrian center, medical services, therapies, and much more. More than 300 individuals who live with intellectual or developmental disabilities call Beverly Farm home.
The mission of Beverly Farm is to provide a loving, caring home for adults with developmental disabilities, providing each individual with physical and emotional security and a dignified quality of life, with opportunities and challenges, within each individual’s functional capabilities.