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VIDEO: Pups join run for Special Olympics

More than two dozen take part in annual fundraiser

This year, in addition to police officers and athletes, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics in Langley included two pups currently up for adoption at the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS) in Aldergrove.

Mixed-breed dogs "Fore" and "Tee," named in honour of the society "Paws on the Green" golf fundraiser, were there as a show of support, LAPS executive director Sarah Jones explained.

"We have several volunteers who are neurodivergent who qualified for the special Olympics this summer,"Jones told the Langley Advance Times.

"We wanted to show our support to them and the event. At LAPS these volunteers build up their life skills and we wanted to celebrate their achievement."

For the enthusiastic pups, all the attention before the run began got them so worked up that that they ran out of steam shortly after it started, and ended up being carried for a bit by their human companions, Kelsi Sutton, LAPS director of development and Jillian Kirby, LAPS marketing and communications coordinator.

More than two dozen athletes and officers took part in the run on Wednesday, June 12, at the main Langley RCMP detachment in Murrayville.

One of the runners was RCMP Supt. Adrian Marsden, the officer in charge, who called the torch run a great cause.

"We're just gathered here today to support the Special Olympics," Marsden commented.

"We're going to try to run a couple of kilometres without pulling too many calf muscles," he smiled.

Among those present to cheer on the runners was Murrayville resident Kathy Semke, whose daughter Melissa Semke and son-in-law Jeremy Ennis – who live in Langley City – and are both Special Olympic competitors, served as torch bearers. 

"I love taking part in this," Kathy said of the torch run. 

"I love the whole thing about Special Olympics. It has really inspired our daughter."

In the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run, police officers run or walk alongside Special Olympics BC athletes and other members of their community to raise funds and awareness.

It started in 1981, the idea of Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon to help law enforcement be active in the community and support Special Olympics.

In 1983, Chief LaMunyon won the endorsement of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which has led to the torch run becoming the largest public awareness and fundraising group for Special Olympics.

LAPS is holding its second "Paws on the Green" fundraiser at the Fort Langley Golf Course on Thursday, June 27. 

More information can be found at www.lapsbc.ca/blog/pdf-golf-tournament-2023.

In its first year, the golf tournament raised $43,000. This year's goal is $70,000.