Jayden Wiggins has found his voice through Special Olympics Indiana.

And at the 2024 Summer Games Opening Ceremonies, he shared that voice on the biggest stage of his life.

The Posey County 14-year-old came to Terre Haute in June for his first Summer Games. He met a lot of new people, gained new experiences and felt the thrill of competing on a statewide basis in track and field.

The biggest moment for him came at the Hulman Center on Indiana State University’s campus. Standing in front of 5,000 people, Wiggins officially launched competitions for athletes representing 61 county programs.

“I now declare the Summer Games open!”

As one of 55 athletes chosen to celebrate Special Olympics Indiana’s 55th anniversary, Wiggins stood center stage in helping to promote the fun and excitement that the event offers.

He competed in the 400-meter walk, the softball throw and standing long jump. His favorite sports are  basketball, bowling and track.

His mother, Ashley Crossen, said she could not imagine any of this happening for her son five years ago. Wiggins spent much of his younger life in and out of hospitals undergoing a series of surgeries.

“Being able to compete is very special for him,” Crossen said. “Special Olympics has given Jayden an opportunity to learn about himself and develop skills he didn’t know he had. It’s helped develop his mental attitude and shown him anyone with disabilities can compete and have fun doing so. He is very thankful to be part of such a special program.”

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