Professional LAX Athlete Kathy Rudkin is Passionate On and Off The Field

Cousin AJ visits GiGi’s Annapolis!

GiGi's Volunteer Woman Lacrosse player profileBy Doni Dondero

Kathy has an energetic nine-year-old cousin with Down syndrome in California who is her “bright light” and inspiration for volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse, all the way across the country in Annapolis. Kathy and her student lacrosse players at the Severn School, where she is the Varsity head coach, led GiGi’s AcceptDance event work out and tiktok dance. “That event,” shares Kathy, “was so well executed and every single participant had a blast moving for acceptance.”

Kathy started volunteering at The Playhouse during the pandemic when she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others during such a hard time in our country. Kathy says that volunteering at The Playhouse has had an immense impact on her. “I get so much out of it and every time I volunteer at GiGi’s and get to interact with the amazing staff and friends, I leave with my tank completely full. It is a happy place with no shortage of smiles, and I love the message GiGi’s spreads about acceptance for all,” Kathy emphasizes. Kathy leads GiGi’s Hip Hop Dance group, and has volunteered in TeenTastic, Yoga, Fantastic Friends and as a Literacy tutor.

Group of smiling adults with Down syndrome at GiGi's Playhouse Annapolis

Kathy leads the Fantastic Friends Hip Hop Dance group.

Volunteering has always been important to Kathy, starting when she was in school. She juggled this with the rigor of competitive lacrosse, eventually being drafted to play professionally. The toughest part of her career was definitely in college, according to Kathy. “As a Division I student-athlete, you have so many things on your plate, so learning to adjust to being tired a lot and having to fight through adversity and injuries is a big part of it. It is so worth it because you create amazing relationships with your coaches and teammates and those are the people who get you through tough moments,” Kathy notes.

While she thought her days as a competitive player were potentially over when she graduated from the University of Maryland in 2018, she was surprised and fortunate to be drafted into the WPLL which was the professional lacrosse league that eventually morphed into what is now Athletes Unlimited. Kathy remembers that she had so much fun playing with so many great players she had encountered with or against in her college.

Following that season, she was drafted again to play in the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Professional Lacrosse League. Kathy points out that in comparison to other sports throughout the country, the lacrosse world is an incredibly close and tight-knit community. She is drawn to the Athletes Unlimited mission and the way in which the league empowers its players to “play for something bigger than ourselves,” Kathy states. #GenerationG

The opening games for the Athletes Unlimited league begins play this Friday, July 23rd at 5pm. Games are going to be streamed on CBS Sports Network (Media Partners). Tune in to cheer Kathy on in “Team Ohlmiller” in the opening game. Here is the link to the week one schedule that includes the broadcast info for each game and more about the Athletes Unlimited league: https://auprosports.com/who-we-are/

Best of Luck Kathy, love from all your friends at GiGi’s!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To support the development of athletes as civic leaders, Athletes Unlimited has launched their “Athlete Causes” program in partnership with Give Lively and the Give Lively Foundation. Each athlete is enabled to play for an organization and cause that is meaningful to them. Kathy has selected playing for GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis.

Message from Kathy:

On July 23rd, the Athletes Unlimited professional lacrosse season officially begins! I am so honored to be playing with so many incredible players and people. Each athlete has chosen an athlete cause to play for and I am honored to have selected GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis as my cause. 

I am asking my friends and family to help me celebrate the beginning of the Athletes Unlimited season by supporting GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center. Click here to donate to my GiGi’s fundraising page.

GiGi’s Playhouse is on a mission to change the way the world views Down syndrome and your donation will help ensure MORE families receive FREE purposeful programs offered from prenatal diagnosis through adulthood!  Your support will ensure MORE children and adults with Down syndrome improve their speech and literacy, combat low muscle tone, and benefit from career development and real-world internship opportunities.   

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!   

Kathy Rudkin

Leave a Comment