Following behind police cruisers with flashing lights, about 60 people jogged from Science North to Tom Davies Square June 5 as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.
Sgt. Joanne Pendrak of the Greater Sudbury Police said the event is meant to raise awareness of Ontario Special Olympics Summer Games, which takes place in Newmarket, Ont. July 10-14.
Torch runs are being held throughout the province this spring, and will culminate with athletes carrying the torch into the summer games' opening ceremonies.
Greater Sudbury Police raises about $35,000 a year for the Special Olympics through various fundraising initiatives, including a yearly toll in front of popular local shopping areas, Pendrak said.
The Special Olympics has been the Ontario Chiefs of Police Association's charity of choice for a number of years, Pendrak said.
“They thought that promoting fitness and health and wellness for people with intellectual disabilities was the way to make their lives better,” she said.
“Of course, police officers have a background in fitness. The whole thing blended together.”
One of the torch run participants was Special Olympian Krystin Albert. The 22-year-old participates in floor hockey, swimming, track and bowling. She said she enjoys the Special Olympics because she gets to “meet new people and new friends.”
Jarrod Copeland, the Northern Ontario district developer for Special Olympics Ontario, said the organization is blessed to be the chiefs' charity of choice.
He said he's a huge believer in what sports brings to people, no matter who they are.
“Opening it up to everyone, where they feel comfortable and included, is a remarkable thing,” he said. “Being able to be a part of that, and going out to the events, and seeing the smiles it brings to their faces, is truly heartwarming.”