Flint Torch Run hopes fundraiser builds awareness for Special Olympics of Michigan

FLINT (WJRT) (09/07/19) - It's one of 45 stops across the state over one week.

Every year, the Law Enforcement Torch Run does a "Run Week" stretching 750 miles across Michigan.

During their travels, they interact with their athletes, community members, and law enforcement. In Flint, it began at U of M's Campus.

"The main goal is to create awareness, but then there's also that fundraising piece. We hope to raise about $80,000 to $90,000 just in this week," Andrea Rachko said. Rachko is the Law Enforcement Torch Run Liaison for the Special Olympics of Michigan.

Last year, there was just one Special Olympics athlete participating in Flint's Torch Run. This year, there are up to three; together, they move in harmony.

"We move at a pace that's as fast as our slowest person participating. It doesn't matter what age you are. If you're coming out as a mom and you're pushing a double stroller, but you're here to support and participate, we're going to move as fast as you move. If we had a group of all runners that showed up to participate, then we'll all run," Sarah Whitman, a Michigan State Police Sergeant, said.

The Torch Run in Flint was a moderate-paced walk for about a mile and a half. Every dollar raised in Flint and during the week goes to Special Olympics of Michigan, supporting those local athletes excluded time after time after time.

"These athletes want to be just like everybody else. They want to be included and involved in all the different sporting events. Maybe they don't get those opportunities in their school systems, but this gives them the opportunity," Whitman said.

Athletes like Demetrius Forstner, who says he is grateful for the chance to take part in something he loves.

"It's all you guys. You guys are our backbones. You guys are our flame. You guys give us experience to do this and experience. Without you guys, I'd just be probably at home doing nothing," Forstner said.

The program is hoping to build up to 50 or 60 Torch Runs.

If you'd like to donate, you can visit the Flint Community Run page. You can find the tab in the related links section.



 
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