On May 26, 2018, Purdue basketball guard Abby Abel will be honored for some of her work off the court. The longtime Special Olympics advocate will serve as grand marshal for the 62nd IPL 500 Festival Parade. IPL 500 is a nonprofit organization that provides life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the Indianapolis 500.
In high school, Abel was involved in Carmel High School’s Unified Track and Field team, which joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to compete. Unified sports teams are offered to Indiana schools through Champions Together, which is associated with Special Olympics Indiana. It was there that she met Mitch Bonar, who was born with cerebral palsy and will serve at Grand Marshal for the parade along with Abel.
“To say Abby is self-sacrificing is an understatement,” Purdue University Vice President/Director of Athletics Mike Bobinski said in a press release. “Beyond her role as a member of our women’s basketball team, in which she works tirelessly every day to make her teammates better, Abby has been a staunch advocate for Special Olympics in Indiana for the past five years. Her ambition to make Play Unified Basketball a club sport at Purdue and across the Big Ten Conference is impressive. For Abby and Mitch Bonar to be selected as grand marshals of the 500 Festival Parade is a tremendous honor and well-deserved recognition of their efforts.”
Abel recently organized the third Play Unified Basketball Tournament at Purdue and posted several photos from the event to Twitter.
— Abby Abel (@ballerabby24) April 16, 2018