NEW YORK – Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky has been awarded the July WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm for her personal mission and efforts to empower individuals with special needs.
In the midst of an historic season, Delle Donne has continued her lifelong work advocating on behalf of those with special needs. Her older sister, Lizzie, was born blind and deaf with cerebral palsy and autism, and is the driving force behind Delle Donne’s efforts on and off the court. In July, Delle Donne brought Matthew Walzer – a 19-year-old with cerebral palsy – to WNBA All-Star 2015 presented by Boost Mobile. She met with Walzer and his family, and treated them to courtside seats while playing in the Nike FLYEASE shoes Walzer inspired the brand to create. Delle Donne then signed and gifted Walzer the pair, which feature a lace-free design tailored to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Named a Special Olympics Global Ambassador in 2014, Delle Donne works alongside the organization to advance opportunities for those with intellectual disabilities worldwide. Delle Donne graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Special Education, allowing her to remain a champion for the cause throughout her WNBA career. She recently created the Elena Delle Donne Charitable Foundation, which supports Special Olympics initiatives and generates awareness for Lyme disease.
“The WNBA has provided me a tremendous platform to make a difference in people’s lives by raising awareness for causes that I am passionate about,” said Delle Donne. “It’s an honor to receive the Community Assist Award, and I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to work with Matthew during All-Star. Lizzie and individuals like Matthew inspire me to do what I do.”
The WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm is awarded monthly during the season to the player that best reflects the WNBA’s passion to make a difference in the community. In recognition of Delle Donne’s efforts, the WNBA and State Farm will donate $7,500 to Special Olympics. Please visit wnba.com/statefarmcommunityassist for more information on the award and its recipients.