South Carolina mom holds 24-hour free throw marathon to raise money for Special Olympics


HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — One mother is raising money for South Carolina’s Special Olympics program by shooting free throws for 24 hours straight.

Debbie Antonelli’s motivation behind the annual free throw marathon, ’24 Hours Nothing But Net’, is her son, Frankie, a Special Olympic athlete.

Antonelli, a former athlete and current basketball analyst, started the fundraiser three years ago to support Special Olympic families.

Starting Saturday at noon, for 24 hours, she will shoot and make 100 free throws each hour.

“If you gave me a penny for every free throw I make because I’m going to make 2400, that’s $24. That is very impactful on the Special Olympic athletes,” Antonelli said.

Frankie is a senior in the Clemson Life Program, lives independently, goes to class, has a job, is a fraternity member and is on an intramural team.

Debbie says South Carolina’s Special Olympics has been a valuable asset in Frankie’s success.

“He’s living his best life, and Special Olympics had a lot to do with our family helping Frankie be the best he can be. We want other families to have a similar experience through sports. That’s why we are doing what we are doing with 24 hours nothing but net,” Antonelli said.

Sports are a massive part of Antonelli and her family’s life, especially for Frankie. She says the South Carolina Special Olympics has played a role in who he is today.

That’s why she’s aiming to break her fundraising record this weekend in hopes of helping other families have a similar experience.

“Having the chance to play for Frankie has been as impactful because he gets to make friends, gets to compete, train, he learns about healthy lifestyles and making a healthy life choice. Nutrition is a part of training, and he’s gaining all of that, and Special Olympics has helped him,” Antonelli said.

All of the money she raises this weekend will go directly to training and Special Olympics competitions.

Last year, she raised more than $100,000 in 24 hours. This year her goal is $125,000.

The 24-hour marathon starts Saturday at noon. You can watch the live stream on Facebook and YouTube, or click here.

Click here to donate.

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