London Police Officer Derek Spence and Orillia Special Olympics Athlete Stephen Graham Selected to Carry the Flame of Hope as part of Final Leg Torch Run Team for 2019 Special Olympics World Games
Flame serves as beacon of inspiration to thousands during Law Enforcement Torch Run to Abu Dhabi, UAE
London/Orillia, ON, July 2018 – Special Olympics Ontario is proud to announce that Derek Spence from the London Police Service and Special Olympics athlete, Stephen Graham have been selected to serve as part of the Final Leg team, serving as a Guardian of the Flame® as they run the “Flame of Hope” throughout the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March, leading up to the start of the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Final Leg runners from around the world were selected to proudly represent their local Torch Run and Special Olympics Programs. The Final Leg team will embark on different routes, running the Flame of Hope throughout cities and communities across the United Arab Emirates at various events, honouring the spirit of the Special Olympics global movement and delivering a message of hope to communities where people with intellectual disabilities continue to fight for acceptance and inclusion. The Final Leg Team will safely deliver the “Flame of Hope” to the 2019 Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi Opening Ceremony on 14th March.
As one of only 10 Special Olympics athletes chosen out of a pool of nearly 30 athletes who were nominated, and one of 112 members of law enforcement chosen, the Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run (OLETR) is proud to have two Ontario representatives selected to participate on the 2019 Abu Dhabi World Games Final Leg Torch Run Team.
Stephen Graham, has been involved with Special Olympics since 1997 and competes in athletics, baseball, speed skating and swimming. Over the last 20 years he has competed at three Special Olympics World Winter Games, and numerous National competitions. “I would like to thank all those who have made my dreams come true. The experiences and opportunities have been amazing. Travel, friendships, confidence and a second family are what Special Olympics have given me over the years. Thank you to the Law Enforcement Torch Run for making dreams come true and raising awareness for inclusion and Special Olympics.“
“As Stephen’s mother, I often reflect over his childhood, teenage and early adult years, and I am so thankful he has been involved with Special Olympics,” said Elaine Sherrit, Stephen’s mother. “I can’t image what life would have been like without his involvement in sport. He is a successful happy and confident adult in his life and he is respected by all. One gentleman who has gotten to know Stephen through his success in sport once commented that he is a better person from getting to know Stephen. I am forever grateful for all the support and encouragement he has received over the years.”