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Raiders surprise Special Olympics Nevada athlete with Super Bowl tickets


HENDERSON, Nev. – The Las Vegas Raiders today surprised a Special Olympics Nevada athlete with tickets, travel and accommodations to next month's Super Bowl. Special Olympian Sandra was astonished and ecstatic as she was presented with a super experience which includes two tickets to Super Bowl LVII along with roundtrip airfare, a two-night hotel stay, and ground transportation for the weekend for her and a guest.

This act of kindness was made possible by Raiders 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year AJ Cole, who donated the tickets and whose selected charity is Special Olympics Nevada, as he has a special place in his heart for athletes who face the added challenge of dealing with intellectual disabilities.

Cole offered congratulations via video to Sandra, who is a huge fan of Cole's, while Raiderettes Kylee and Tatiana were on hand to participate in the surprise with that included furnishing Sandra with a gift bag of Raiders branded items that included Silver and Black apparel and luggage for her weekend in Arizona.

Sandra has been involved with the Special Olympics Nevada since 2016 and competed in Track and Field at the 2018 USA Games in Seattle. She lists basketball as her favorite sport and also enjoys bowling, playing golf and flag football. Sandra also serves as an Athlete Leader and when asked how Special Olympics Nevada has changed her life, she replied, "I've made lots of friends and met new people."

During his time with the Silver and Black and even before then during his college years at North Carolina State, the Raiders punter has been a devout advocate for the children and adults who are part of Special Olympics Nevada, supporting athletes with continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other athletes and the community.

Sandra is the latest to receive Super Bowl tickets from the Las Vegas Raiders in appreciation for making positive contributions to our community. The Raiders bestowed a Super Surprise on Joseph Uy in recognition of his commitment and dedication to his school. He was principal at Gwendolyn Woolley Elementary School and assumed the added duties of substitute teacher, cafeteria worker and could even be seen handling custodial duties.

Last year, the Raiders also surprised Liz Groesbeck, a UNLV medical student who helped save a hit-and-run crash victim's life on the way to a Raiders preseason game in 2021, with Super Bowl tickets. Raiders fans Andres and Susanna Caja were both injured, and Andres' left arm was severed in the crash. The Raiders also surprised the Cajas with Super Bowl tickets.

Tight end Darren Waller, the Raiders' 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, surprised Paul Vautrinot, executive director of the Shine A Light Foundation, and his wife Kaylin with tickets to Super Bowl LVI. The Shine A Light Foundation helps the homeless in Las Vegas area – specifically focused on those living in the underground flood channels – find access to housing and treatment centers.

Prior to the Raiders' 2021 regular season opener, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell presented Amy Laws—who along with her husband attended the game at Allegiant Stadium as guests of the Raiders—with tickets in recognition of her efforts to tackle food insecurity in Southern Nevada. Laws had logged over 900 hours volunteering at Three Square Food Bank since 2016. Additionally, the Raiders, in conjunction with Intermountain Healthcare, honored four frontline medical workers for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic with an all-expense paid trip to Tampa, Florida and tickets to Super Bowl LV.

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