Joanne Kasprzak, Chris Gullotta and Dr. Linda Spoonster Schwartz will be recognized as the first members of the Connecticut Sun's Women of Inspiration program. The Connecticut Sun Foundation will donate $500 in the name of each recipient to the cause of their choice. Also honored that evening will be the winner of the inaugural Margo Dydek Award, which will be announced at a later date.
Selected from a large group of remarkable nominees, these women are the founding class of a program that will annually recognize outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the community. Each year, a new class of Inspiring Women will be selected from candidates submitted to the Connecticut Sun for consideration:
When 15-year-old Mary Kasprzak died of a stroke on September 8, 2003, her mother Joanne took some comfort knowing that, through organ donation, her daughter helped save the lives of five people. Today, through the efforts of Joanne and her husband Tom, Mary is still inspiring and impacting lives. Shortly after Mary's death, the couple wrote a book about their daughter, "Plain Vanilla with Rainbow Sprinkles." Since the book was published in 2009, thousands of dollars in proceeds have been donated to various charities, including the Lighthouse Vocational Educational Center, and Horizons, a camp in Lebanon for special needs children, adolescents and adults that Mary attended. "It shares her legacy of kindness, compassion and forgiveness," Joanne said of the book about Mary, who was born with Down syndrome. "It demonstrates her simple but profound lessons." Joanne will make her donation to the Lighthouse Vocational Education Center. For more information about the book, visit www.plainvanillawithrainbowsprinkles.com