Children’s Hospital Central California served as the hand-off point for the passing of the Special Olympics’ Flame of Hope torch from Fresno County to Madera County.
“We ran from Kingsburg all the way here to Madera,” said Ola Yarbrough, a Special Olympics athlete. “I run track in the Special Olympics but this is my first time doing the torch run.”
Special Olympic athletes, along with Local law enforcement officers from the sheriff’s and police departments and highway patrol, participated in the torch run as it made its way through the Central Valley to Children’s. The Central Valley portion of the torch run started in Tulare; headed through Visalia to Kingsburg; continued through Selma and Fresno, ending the day at Children’s Hospital in Madera. The torch begins again in Madera and goes to Chowchilla. The run culminates at the Capitol Building in Sacramento, Calif. where the torch will be handed off and the final leg will be ran into Aggie Stadium at the University of California, Davis, kicking off the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics.
“This is the first time this has come through here,” said Doreen Roth, law enforcement torch run director for Special Olympics Northern California, who has been a coach for the Special Olympics and works with their athletes. “These athletes are a part of our community and contribute to the community.”
Law enforcement – which has become the largest supporter of the Special Olympics Northern California – raises funds and community awareness for the athletes year round.