In the fall of 2004, Team William manifested in the form of an idea while Andrea McDermott was running a Half Marathon in Memphis, TN. Suddenly struck by a desire to run further than 13.1 miles, it became obvious that there would have to be a reason for doing so. After much thought, a few packets of gu, and 24 disposable water cups, the answer was obvious - William Spickard.
A seven-year old boy with Down syndrome and ADHD, William met with Andrea a few days a week to receive help with his reading. Inspired by the challenge of teaching reading and the creativity needed to effectively work with a child with special-needs, it was evident that children like William needed support. Much more than Andrea could single-handedly give.
Vanderbilt University houses the 'Kennedy Center' - a research facility that provides support for the special needs community. The Reading Clinic, within the center, is a place where children can receive reading instruction using research-based methods.
In 2005, family, friends, co-workers & colleagues banded together to raise $31,000 to establish an endowment for reading scholarships for children with Down syndrome at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. The method for raising the money was running in the Country Music Marathon & sending letters soliciting support. Over the years, Team William has grown to incorporate live 5K fundraising events, promote 'Sip & Sup' alumni gatherings and fund Discovery Grant research. With collective support, over the past decade, more than $200,000.00 has been raised for Team William! None of this would have been possible without inspiration. That, of course, came in the form of William.
Faces and Forces behind Team William
Fundraisers, runners & core support force
The inspiration behind it all!
Andrea 'McDermott' Sanders
Founder, marathon runner & fundraiser
Team William Mini-Marathon 5K founder, t-shirt entrepreneur & William's sister
Jan Rosemergy, Timothy Stafford & Elise McMillan
The original Vanderbilt Kennedy Center team who helped launch the creation of Team William
Director at the Reading Clinic