A pair of runners lope toward the finish line. The trailing athlete falters, the leader stops to help.
It’s the kind of human interaction we post, click, like and share until it goes viral on social media. Commenters lament the lack of these things in real life, and so does Oak Bay Police Const. Sheri Lucas.
“It’s something everybody wants to ‘share’ but when it comes down to it, we don’t have enough people living it,” said Lucas, a longtime promoter of Special Olympics, athletics programs for those with intellectual disabilities. Athletes compete at the local, provincial, national and international level.
Greater Victoria boasts 226 athletes, with more than 1,000 across Vancouver Island.
During a recent conference Lucas heard the story of a young man on the verge of committing suicide. The man met a police officer who led him down the Special Olympics path. That young man went on to win multiple gold medals in bodybuilding.
“He just realized what his potential was and what he could accomplish with the right support,” Lucas said. “Once they find Special Olympics, they find a new meaning.
“Unless you’re touched by it, you don’t understand the effect Special Olympics has on the outcome and quality of life,” said Lucas, who serves on the local Law Enforcement Torch Run.
The event is actually 15 years old, with a resurgence the past few years in Victoria.
“It’s such an important thing. It’s basically the biggest fundraiser for Special Olympics and the biggest vehicle for awareness,” Lucas said.
Last spring she was among the region’s police offers who camped out on the roof of Uptown to raise funds and awareness. That sit-in is slated for April 29 to May 2, followed by the Law Enforcement Torch Run in June.
“We’re always looking for donations, volunteers, corporate sponsors,” Lucas said. “We are always looking for new fundraising ideas and supporters.”
For more information on how to volunteer or donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about Special Olympics at specialolympics.bc.ca online.
Learn more about the local organization at victoriaspecialolympics.com.