The WNBA honored Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky with its Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award on Wednesday for her community work in 2013.
Delle Donne's sister, Lizzie, who is autistic, deaf, and blind, is her motivation to work closely with the Special Olympics. Delle Donne was named a Global Ambassador to raise awareness and help create more opportunities to those with disabilities. She also made a pledge to Rword.com to help stop the use of the "R" word.
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Delle Donne also works to bring awareness to Lyme disease, which she struggles with today. Delle Donne has not played the last three Sky games due to complications from Lyme disease. She was honored with the StarLight Award by Lyme Research Alliance on April 5 for her constant contributions and efforts toward research and awareness.
The WNBA will donate $10,000 to the Lyme Research Alliance in honor of Delle Donne's efforts.
"As an athlete, you're given an enormous platform to use however you choose," Delle Donne said in a statement. "By sharing my personal experiences with Lyme disease, along with my sister Lizzie's challenges, I've been able to help educate and inspire others to overcome obstacles that they're faced with. I'm thankful to the WNBA, Special Olympics, Lyme Research Alliance and Dawn for giving me an avenue off the court to make a difference."