The Ontario Virtual Torch Run (OVTR) happened to be Niagara Regional Police’s, Divya Bhagria’s first-ever event with Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). “I saw internal emails being sent out from our Niagara LETR team to the service about Torch Run and Special Olympics Ontario,” said Divya. She continued, “I decided to open the email, which led me to the LETR website where I was able to gather more information on what exactly LETR and Special Olympics consisted of.” Right away, LETR had caught Divya’s attention. “It applied to my personal life as I have family members who have special needs and are a part of the community. This resulted in starting my campaign to help raise money and awareness for the organization but also give back to the athletes that are involved,” said Divya.
Once OVTR concluded, Divya solidified her spot as the top fundraiser for the event, raising $5,000 for LETR in support of Special Olympics Ontario (SOO). Taking her feat one step further, Divya even donated her top fundraiser prizes to the SickKids Foundation! OVTR became a passion project for Divya, working to help raise donations and awareness for SOO in any way she could. “This became more of a personal passion for me because as we all know; we are collectively going through COVID-19 restrictions together and can see how it has affected all of us but ultimately, I cannot even imagine the effect it has had on people that are a part of minority groups,” she noted. Since the Torch Run was held virtually in 2021, Divya felt the impacts that both SOO athletes and all who are involved feel due to the restrictions at hand. “It was very important to me to be involved and participate because I not only wanted to contribute to building more awareness within our communities but also help raise as much as possible to help fund for these programs which directly help the athletes involved in LETR and SOO.”
Fundraising is no easy task however, having her community on her side truly pushed Divya to the finish line. “It felt great to have such strong support and backing from our community,” said Divya. “My key to success was having a great level of support and backing from friends, family and co-workers.” Although Torch Run went virtual this year, it also made for a great opportunity to utilize social media in advertising her fundraising campaign and information about LETR and SOO.
Divya’s journey with LETR and SOO is just beginning and she cannot wait to dive in and become more involved! Divya extends her thanks to the Niagara LETR team for building awareness in the community and helping her start her own personal campaign. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization and be a part of the community where I could actively use my social skills to bring several communities together as a united front to contribute to making a change and being the difference,” expressed Divya. As she moves forward in her LETR journey, Divya has much to be excited for. “I look forward to meeting the athletes in the future so I can truly experience the journey to its full potential and forever remember the impact, happiness and change it brings not only to the community but the athletes that are actively involved with LETR and SOO.”