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Local law enforcement agencies came together in the Torch Run Relay for the Special Olympics

More than 20 law enforcement agencies passed along the Flame of Hope all for one cause, the Special Olympics athletes

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Law enforcement agencies from all over Yuma County as well as the Imperial County Sheriff's Office (ICSO) ran for a purpose, to help raise money for the Special Olympics of Arizona.

According to the Special Olympics Arizona's website, the Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest fundraising vehicle for Special Olympics across the globe.

In Arizona, law enforcement raises more than $1 million per year that goes directly back to creating increased opportunities for their athletes.

The race began Wednesday morning in San Luis, Arizona at 5:00am and ended at the Colorado River State Historic Park around 9:30am.

Meaning behind the torch

Each team handed off the torch as they ended their part of the relay.

Kelly Smith, Special Olympics Head of Delegation for Yuma athletes describes what the Flame of Hope means.

"This Flame of Hope represents the hope that all athletes can have. That they can come and find a place to be included and succeed whether it's sports on the field or off the field in life," says Smith.

One of the athletes Savannah Sullivan didn't run, but she was a cheerleader.

"I went with my coach to cheer on the other athletes," says Sullivan.

How the money helps the athletes

Officer Christina Fernandez with the Yuma Police Department (YPD) says seeing the agencies come together for one main cause shows the camaraderie in our area.

"It really gives us a sense of pride. We are very fortunate to work in a community that really shows its support for law enforcement," says Fernandez. "We are scattered across the county so it's really great to see all of us come together for one main purpose and that's for the athletes of Arizona."

YPD has different fundraisers throughout the year for the Special Olympics of Arizona.

"Last year alone, just in our Halloween event we raised over $32,000," mentions Fernandez.

The athletes are not charged to be a part of the Special Olympics, so the money helps with their transportation, lodging, equipment and uniforms.

Noble and fun event

Deputy Justin Benavidez with the ICSO says they're happy to participate in a noble and fun event.

"I think these Special Olympians out here really embody what courage is," says Benavidez.

The Special Olympics Summer Games will be May 4th-6th in Glendale, Arizona.

For more information on how you can get involved and/or donate, visit their website.

Article Topic Follows: Yuma Special Olympics

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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA team in 2022 and is the anchor/producer for CBS at 4 p.m.

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