QUEENS (PIX11) — Hundreds of adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be competing in outdoor activities at the annual Victory Games in Flushing, Queens on Friday.

Eddie Morell, 54, has spent the last few months training for his big moment. Morell was selected by WellLife Network, a nonprofit dedicated to helping uplift people like him so they can thrive. He is kicking off the opening ceremonies of a very special day.

Syndie Leonard-Hamm is the program director at WellLife Network and Morell’s biggest fan. She helped Morell get ready for his moment to shine. He is the Olympian chosen to hold the torch in the opening ceremony. 

For Morell, it’s a moment to shine after years of overcoming obstacles. Morell was diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He struggled with outbursts of physical aggression and had a difficult time being redirected. It’s hard to believe because now he is the life of the party, always cheerful and smiling. 

The secret formula is the tireless work of the WellLife Network staff, said Leonard-Hamm. They help him be his best self every day.

Morrel is one of 300 adults in the programs at WellLife. More than 80 locations provide services and housing from New York City to Long Island. The Victory Games will be a day of hope and athletics in Queens, from a 100-meter dash to a relay wheelchair race. 

Morell said he’s excited to be the star of the opening ceremony as the torchbearer. For him and the team that helped make it happen, it’s a moment of triumph and shows what hard work, determination, and teamwork can do. 

WellLife Network relies on private donations. If you want to volunteer or give, you can click here.