Stepping up for Special Olympics Ontario athletes

Dan Benoit holds up a decorated torch at the Tillsonburg Farmers Market helping to raise funds and awareness for the Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Ontario athletes. (Contributed photo) jpg, TN

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Special Olympics Tillsonburg co-ordinator Patricia Benoit did her part stepping up for the 2020 Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run, a provincial fundraiser that benefits Special Olympics Ontario athletes.

“I was really hoping to get a few people to join me and do some virtual runs,” said Benoit, who raised $245 and over several weeks successfully achieved running 33 kilometres.

“My son Dan and his support worker, they made their own torches and they’ve been running around taking pictures, so at least trying to get it out there on Facebook saying ‘it’s happening.’ We really got some good mileage off it.

“We were at the Tillsonburg Farmers Market, McDonald’s – some of the volunteers work there – just all over.

The paper-style torches were provided by Special Olympics and decorated by participants.

“We’ve got a bunch of athletes that are getting out and doing driveway visits and things like that, and as they’re doing it they are taking pictures. They are having fun with it and that is the main thing.”

This year the provincial goal was to raise $33,000.

“Special Olympics kicked it off around Aug 14-17,” said Benoit, noting it is only a virtual run this year. “I think the OPP in Tillsonburg are also doing some virtual things for it.”

As of last week, Benoit said Special Olympics Ontario had raised $25,449 as they were approaching Sept. 19, the official last day of the Run.

If you’d like to make a contribution, contact Benoit at

“There’s going to be people having late stuff come in,” said Benoit. “They didn’t tell us they were going to close the links down at any certain date.”

In the last couple of years, the local Torch Run has raised $1,000 to 1,200.

“We were doing it 10 years ago, too, and were doing really good. Then we got back into it and we’ve done well in the last three years. They’ve been doing the Torch Run for 33 years in the province.”