First-ever Unified Relay Across America runs through Carbondale - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

First-ever Unified Relay Across America runs through Carbondale

Unified Relay Participants (Source: City of Carbondale Police Dept.) Unified Relay Participants (Source: City of Carbondale Police Dept.)
Members of the Carbondale Police Department, The Southern Illinois University Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department pose with the Flame of Hope (Source: City of Carbondale Police Dept.) Members of the Carbondale Police Department, The Southern Illinois University Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department pose with the Flame of Hope (Source: City of Carbondale Police Dept.)
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - On June 9, the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay and the Flame of Hope made its way through Carbondale on its way to Los Angeles.

The Carbondale Police Department and the Southern Illinois University Police escorted The Flame of Hope and torchbearers through Carbondale on its way to St. Louis.

The Unified Relay will give anyone in the country a chance to carry the Flame of Hope that will be lit in Athens, Greece and help deliver it to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Summer Games. Over the course of 46 days, in a hand-to-hand exchange, thousands of participants will run, walk or bike a segment of the relay in this team and individual fundraising event as it passes through all 50 states.

The relay will culminate at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles on July 25, 2015. ESPN, the official broadcaster of the World Games, will produce the Opening Ceremony live as well as a nightly highlights program throughout the nine-day event.

“In a time when there is so much dividing people, our World Games offer an opportunity for our nation to come together to celebrate differences and unify in the spirit of respect and inclusion,” said Special Olympics CEO Janet Froetscher. “With so many people coming to the U.S. for the World Games, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for every citizen to carry the Flame of Hope through their communities where it will light the caldron that burns during the Games. As the torch makes its way across our country it will bring us together in a unique way that will open hearts and minds.”

When the three relays arrive in Los Angeles, the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg Team, comprised of law enforcement officers representing 36 countries, along with 10 Special Olympics athletes, will accept the torches and continue the Flame of Hope's journey to communities throughout California, including Host Towns where Special Olympics World Games delegations from more than 170 countries will participate in pre-Games cultural exchanges. 

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