We are pleased to announce our special guest speaker for the 2017 Nose-On luncheon is WNBA basketball phenom Elena Delle Donne. Elena, considered one of the best female basketball players of all time, demands excellence in herself and inspires excellence in others.
She draws her own inspiration from someone who is the opposite of her in physical capabilities – her older sister, Lizzie, born blind and deaf with cerebral palsy and autism.
“Lizzie has always been my strength,” Elena says. “She gives me perspective. She’s never said a word to me, but Lizzie has taught me more than anyone in my life. That’s her power.”
Born into a close knit family in Wilmington, Delaware, Elena struggled as a child with the way she was different. She thought she was too tall. Lizzie helped her put her feelings into perspective. Elena was able-bodied and strong; Lizzie was not. Elena could control and train her body; Lizzie could not. The contrast helped Elena see the gift she had been given and value it.
By high school, Elena was a standout in basketball. She led her team to three straight state championships and was named an All-American. Heavily recruited as a senior, she signed with University of Connecticut, but it wasn’t a good fit. She transferred to the University of Delaware to be closer to her family, especially Lizzie.
Through Lizzie, Elena found her own power and passion.
A powerful athlete, she is an Olympic Gold Medalist, WNBA Most Valuable Player, three-time WNBA All-star and 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year. She was selected second overall by the Chicago Sky in the 2013 WNBA draft. In January 2017, Elena was traded to the Washington Mystics, where she’ll now play just a short distance away from her family’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.
A passionate advocate, Elena serves as a global ambassador for Special Olympics and runs a basketball camp to mentor young girls. She challenges others to see the value and beauty in those who have special needs.
“As I grew up, I became aware there are people with special needs out there, and I have a real connection with them,” Elena says.
She shares the story of her bond with Lizzie on her website, www.elenadelledonne.com, in interviews and in a Gatorade short: Elena Delle Donne – For the Wind (see below).
She will share her story with a LOGAN audience March 21 at The Great LOGAN Nose-On luncheon at Century Center. Click here to reserve your seat.