Sunday, August 2, 2015

Special Olympics, Safeway team up

With the Winter Olympics in Sochi now history, it’s time for Special Olympics’ athletes to have their turn in the spotlight.
Special Olympics Ontario and Safeway once again are joining forces for the “People With Disabilities” campaign, which begins today and runs through March 21.

As part of the event, local Special Olympics athletes, coaches, and volunteers will make their annual appearance at Safeway tomorrow from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. to help bag groceries and greet the public.
They’ll also be handing out information pamphlets about the organization.
“It’s really important for us to raise awareness for the same reason for anyone in any sports club,” noted Gaby Hanzuk, community co-ordinator for the local branch of Special Olympics Ontario.
“It’s a matter of pride for the athletes when it comes to what these guys have accomplished and how much they love being part of Special Olympics,” she added.
“The awareness of what they can do is growing,” Hanzuk said. “There is still a lot of ignorance out there but it’s not as bad as what it was before.
“A lot of people used to think they just sit in front of the TV and eat popcorn, but we know that’s not true.”
Fort Frances has sent athletes in the past to the Special Olympics World Games.
And local Special Olympian David Ducasse will travel to Vancouver to compete in five-pin bowling at the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver from July 8-12.
“Our athletes have made connections all throughout Northwestern Ontario,” said local branch treasurer Ellen Caul.
“When we’ve gone somewhere for an event, us supervisors get pushed aside when we arrive,” she noted.
“They’re so excited to see their friends again.”
Hanzuk said the best part about the Special Olympics is how the spirit of competition takes a backseat to the overwhelming feeling of camaraderie between athletes from all regions.
“Regular athletes could learn lessons from these athletes,” suggested Hanzuk.
“They are always cheering each other on no matter whose team it is.”
Safeway customers tomorrow will have the option of getting five bonus Air Miles in exchange for a $2 donation as they go through the check-out, which will go towards the local Special Olympics branch.

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