Family and friends remember Kathy Mullen

July 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Kathy Mullen was Fresno's first Special Olympian and the inspiration for "Break the Barriers," a local organization focusing on children of all abilities.

Kathy spent the past few months battling Lewy Body Dementia, she died in her home Thursday at age 52.

It's easy to find a picture of Kathy Mullen smiling. Those who knew her say, that's the way she always was, positive and upbeat.

Kathy had downs syndrome and a competitive spirit, as shown in the video above, from the 1995 Special Olympics. She showed others there is no challenge that couldn't be overcome. That's what led her family to start "Break the Barriers" nearly 30 years ago, and soon a gym was built.

This is the only gym in the area that's all inclusive. Where any child, whether they have special needs or not, can use the facility and equipment. That's the legacy Kathy leaves behind.

Tyler Hergenrader said, "She taught us unconditional love and because of her inspiration, she's made a home for other families with special needs."

Tyler is Kathy's nephew. He says "Break the Barriers" dozens of classes and programs have changed thousands of lives. Like Jared Schmidt's, in his time with the organization, Jared's won more than 150 Olympic medals.

"I keep thinking about her and thinking about her," said Jared. "It is hard to think about her during my job. It is hard, I love her so much."

Now he promises to keep Kathy's dream alive by helping others reach their full potential. To live like this speical, special Olympian who's life has touched so many.

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