“The world is coming.” For the first time in 16 years, the Special Olympics World Summer Games will return to the United States this July and August. The city of Los Angeles will play host to over 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and 30,000 volunteers and I will be one of them! After a life-changing experience at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Greece, my family is eager to once again volunteer in California this year. Making that same journey from Athens to Los Angeles will be the Olympic torch; this spring, the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America will transport this Flame of Hope to the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. I am beyond honored to announce that I will have a “hand” in that too! As part of my participation with Special Olympics Long Island, I have been asked to be a Unified Relay team captain and run a half mile segment through New York City, torch held high!
|Special Olympics Long Island runDead 5K- I promise to dress differently on June 3rd!|
Special Olympics and its message of respect and inclusion is something I implicitly believe in; our relationship pre-dates my son’s diagnosis of autism and has only deepened since. The “Dignity Revolution” has evolved dramatically in the past thirty years and changed attitudes in ways we only dreamed of. That Eunice Shriver dreamed of. The Flame of Hope is a powerful and inspirational symbol of that movement; “a beacon of hope to unite communities in acceptance.” As the torch is carried and passed hand-to-hand across America, millions will bear witness through spectatorship and the power of ESPN and ABC.
|2015 Special Olympics|
Starting May 26, 2015, three simultaneous torch runs will kick-off from Maine, Washington, D.C., and Florida. Approximately 20,000 Torch Runners will carry those flames across the country in 46 days and ESPN will bring you there. As the official media partner of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, their multiple social media platforms will follow the Flame of Hope daily and update the world via “torch tracker” and “Countdown to 2015” on ESPN.com..
ESPN, The Walt Disney Company, and Special Olympics has collaborated on a 2-year initiative to “leverage the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance.”
When I started DIStherapy blog four years ago this week, I was looking for a platform to showcase my lifelong loves; 35 years of service to the DISability community and 50 years as a DISney superfan. Throughout the years, the two have often intersected, but no more so than today. The magic of Disney strikes again!
Won’t you join the movement with me?
– Stand on the sidelines and cheer the Torch Runners in your town!
– Support the social media campaign @LA2015 #LA2015
– Please consider a small donation to my “Get Donna Torched” fundraising. Though I typically runDisney with a charity partner, I always write my own check and have never asked for funds. This time is different. I have agreed to request participation from the community and create an “all in” campaign. EVEN A DONATION OF $5.00 WILL ACCOMPLISH THIS.
I thank you for four years of friendship, for your goodwill and your virtual chEARs. Join in. Help me carry the torch!
My Special Olympics Journey:
A Tale of March Madness: How Basketball Rescued My Autistic Son