Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
By Ilyssa Panitz
Mother’s Day came a little early for the moms of 800 Olympic and Paralympic athletes of 2012. At an emotional press conference in New York City, where a handful of Team USA’s shining stars sat hand and hand with their moms, officials from Procter & Gamble played the role of fairy godmother yesterday.
The company was announcing its new “Thank You, Mom” campaign, which awarded each mom a $1,000 Visa Gift Card to offset the travel costs to London this summer, allowing them to attend the Olympic Games to see their children compete.
The announcement brought tears to the eyes of Sarah Robles (weight lifting) and her mother Joy Robles because Joy has been forced to miss many of her daughter’s competitions due to the high cost of travel the family simply cannot afford. “We haven’t had a lot of money,” Robles told Parents.com. “My mom had to pay for my dad’s dialysis treatments, medical bills for my grandparents before they passed away plus all of the expenses for me and my siblings. Knowing she finally has the opportunity to be with me at the most important moment of my life means the world to me.”
In addition to the $1000 gift card, P&G is taking other steps to ensure that attending the Olympics will not impose a financial burden on athletes’ moms, allowing them to focus on watching their sons and daughters compete. To do this the company is building the P&G Family Home, which will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, travel products and supplies–P&G products such as Pantene, Crest, Duracell and Gillette–and will provide food, lodging, and transportation to and from the events at no cost to the moms.
“I can’t describe how much it means to me to have my mom there with me,” said Ashton Easton, a Decathlon competitor attending the event with his mom, Roslyn, who worked three jobs to support him as a single parent.
“My drive, determination and mentality all stem from the things my mom taught me. Even if I trip and fall this summer during my race my mom taught me, ‘Always finish with grace no matter what.’”
Image via Getty Images