Thousands of dollars were raised, with much more still to come according to Ridge Meadows RCMP Supt. Wendy Mehat, as the 2023 Law Enforcement Torch Run kicked off in Maple Ridge on Thursday.
This annual run, which involves local RCMP members, Special Olympians, dignitaries, and community members, raises money to support Special Olympics BC athletes like David Stevenson, who first joined the Special Olympics organization in 2011.
“The first sport I joined was five-pin bowling, but since then I’ve participated in basketball, 10-pin bowling, bocce, floor hockey, and powerlifting,” said Stevenson.
“I was especially excited to return this year after not having any sports since 2020 because of COVID. I missed the athletes and coaches and was happy to see them again.”
Stevenson was one of four local Special Olympians that participated in the torch run.
After the run, several speeches were made, with both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows councillors speaking about the importance of the event and the Special Olympics organization.
First up was Coun. Judy Dueck, who talked about just how far-reaching the program is.
“Special Olympics is an incredible program and many of us have Special Olympians in our family and circle of friends,” said Dueck.
The heartfelt speech given by Stevenson appeared to affect many people in the crowd, including Pitt Meadows Coun. Mike Manion.
“I’ve heard a lot of speeches, as you can well imagine when you get into politics, but I have never heard as inspiring a speech as I just heard from David,” said Manion.
“I doubt if anyone can walk away from here today without being truly inspired by these kids and what they’ve accomplished and what they are yet to accomplish.”
The Ridge Meadows portion of the Law Enforcement Torch Run has managed to raise more than $2,700 so far, with people still able to donate by visiting www.letr.crowdchange.ca/29359/team/17754.
“On behalf of all Special Olympics athletes, I’d like to thank everyone here today,” said Stevenson.
“Your hard work in raising funds and awareness gives athletes like me opportunities to live happier, healthier lives.”
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