For just over a decade, Silicon Valley-based nonprofit Gatepath (the largest nonprofit in the Bay Area supporting individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential) has hosted the inspiring Power of Possibilities fundraiser to celebrate and support the achievements of those with developmental disabilities in the Bay Area community. The signature fundraiser is known for its powerful keynote speakers. Last year, actor Patrick Dempsey talked about how growing up with a learning disability shaped his perspective on life and helped him become a successful actor. Award-winning actor Colin Farrell, Glee actress Lauren Potter, former San Francisco 49er quarterback Steve Young, and actress and author Holly Robinson-Peete have also been previous keynote speakers. Attendees of this event call it “magical,” “heartwarming,” and “empowering.”
This year’s event on March 21 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront in Burlingame is set to live up to Gatepath supporters’ expectations. Two-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl champion Kurt Warner will serve as the guest speaker in conversation with Emmy-Award-winning journalist Nancy O’Dell.
Warner’s football narrative reads like a rags-to-riches Hollywood script. It is the story of a man filled with dignity and class who captured the imagination of sports fans and so many others worldwide. During his 12-year career, Warner continually beat the odds to quarterback the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl and etched his name in the NFL record books along the way.
While Warner’s football success is truly impressive, his grid-iron accomplishments pale in comparison to his dedication to the community. Warner believes that all people, regardless of ability, have a purpose and calling in life, and that everyone can participate in meaningful and challenging activities, establish personal relationships, and contribute to society when provided with the appropriate support and opportunities.
“People are going to forget that I won a Super Bowl, but they’re never going to forget the kind of impact you had on them personally.”
Inspired by their son Zachary, who is blind and has develop-mental disabilities, Kurt and his wife Brenda founded Treasure House, a supportive living community for young adults, focused on independence, respect, and community integration. Their vision for the future is to replicate the model and help individuals with intellectual disabilities realize their full potential. “People are going to forget that I won a Super Bowl, but they’re never going to forget the kind of impact you had on them personally,” said Warner in an interview with CBS Evening News.
O’Dell will join Warner onstage as a moderator of the Power of Possibilities conversation about their personal connection to the intellectual and developmental disabilities community and the importance of advocating for inclusion in society. O’Dell herself is passionate about inclusion and respect for all people, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Growing up, my best buddy was my Aunt Ellen, who was born with Down syndrome,” recalled O’Dell in an interview with Ability magazine. “Because of my memories of her, to this day, she remains my inspiration for promoting inclusion for individuals of all abilities.”
For tickets and more information, please visit www.Gatepath.org/POP-2019