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Special Olympics Indiana: More Than Just the Competition

IMPD is helping raise money this weekend because officers believe in helping the athletes with life skills.

INDIANAPOLIS--Flag football, volleyball, a corn toss and the distance run and walk are part of the Special Olympics Indiana Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) Games this weekend in the capital city. But, a special relay race may help keep more Hoosier athletes competing.

"We have the first-ever Run Unified Relay in Indianapolis happening this weekend. It's on Sunday at Brebeuf (Jesuit) High School," said Stephanie Manor, manager of community partnerships, Special Olympics Indiana. "We will have five officers from IMPD running."

It's the first relay race with that name. But, Indianapolis Metro Police Officer Jeff Patterson, said he's been working withy Special Olympics since he was an instructor at the police academy.

"Special Olympics gave us a website and our goal is to raise $1,000 for every district," said Patterson. "Each district will have one representative, two athletes from Brebeuf and a special olympian, and will run a quarter leg of a relay race to kick off the games."

"They have pages online at www.firstgiving.com\soIndiana , where people can donate to the district in their area and support the officers and their efforts for Special Olympics," said Manor.

The donations benefit people like Mary McClamroch, who rang the bell to open the Original Farmer's Market at City Market in downtown Indy, Wednesday.

"I've been with Special Olympics for 11 years. I'm a swimmer and I love working in the state office," said McClamroch, who recently started a new job as an assistant with Special Olympics. She said she's won awards, and swimming for her is fun, not just a competition.

"Special Olympics is a non-profit, which means we never charge the athletes to compete," said Manor. "So, we're always bringing in more athletes to impact their lives. So we always have to bring in more funds. This is one of those fundraising events."

Manor said the Special Olympics is not just sports. For the athletes it helps build life skills and a life.

"We all know the benefits of sports. You learn responsibility, partnership, how to have a schedule, how to have a workout regimen, health fitness, friendship," she said. "So very important to their lives, above and beyond sports."

PHOTOS: Chris Davis/Emmis

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