Service members ran proudly alongside Special Olympics Ontario athletes to fundraise through the 31st annual Law Enforcement Torch Run on June 14 and celebrate a strong partnership.
“Through the partnership, we have been able to provide opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities so they can be able to be empowered and transform themselves while lighting the way for acceptance and inclusion,” Deputy Chief Barbara McLean said.
The Torch Run is the major fundraiser for Special Olympics Ontario, a registered charitable organization that provides fitness, recreation and competitive programs for athletes with intellectual disabilities. A total of $43,000 was donated at the event.
The Bank of Montreal led the way with $10,000 followed by the Toronto Police Association and the Toronto Police Amateur Athletic Association which contributed $6,000. The Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), CIBC and RBC each donated $5,000, Foreman Manufacturing and the Mortgage Company of Canada each donated $1,500 and The Senior Officers Association and the Toronto Police Credit Union each donated $500.
TPSB Board chair Andy Pringle personally committed $2,000.
“This is a very important year as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics,” he said. “It’s a great achievement. The Special Olympics program is really an exceptional and unique program founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities and challenges can learn, enjoy, benefit from and be empowered by participation in individual and team sports. I am justly proud of the Service members who have put so much time, energy and commitment to making today, as they do every year, such a great success.”
Nick Kypreos, a retired Maple Leaf and hockey analyst, is proud and honoured to be a Special Olmpics ambassador.
He thanked the committee for the countless hours spent on putting together the run, the almost 250 people that took part in the run, and the sponsors.
“Good intentions can only get you so far, but you need some real money committed by some real people that care and we are fortunate enough to have you guys here today,” he said.
Retired Chief Jack Marks and Constable Lorne White organized the inaugural Torch Run in Canada, in 1987, that brought together runners from 36 law enforcement agencies. They covered nearly 900 kilometres before lighting the flame at Varsity Arena to kick off the International Floor Hockey tournament.
McLean thanked White, who attended the event, for his vision and leadership.
“Look at what you have created,” she told him. “Well done.”
The Service is still raising funds for 15 Toronto athletes to compete in the National Games this summer in Nova Scotia.
Next year, Toronto Police is hosting the world’s first Special Olympics Ontario Youth Games in Toronto.
Nearly 2,500 athletes and their coaches are expected to take part in the event in May.