Dr. Haddad and his family were proud to participate in the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America in honor of his niece Katelyn, who has Down syndrome. Local Detroit residents and Special Olympics supporters helped to carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope, as the torch makes this historic journey across America, on its way to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, CA, on July 25th. The Unified Relay will unite the country, increase understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities, and create communities of acceptance and inclusion along the way.
Hundreds came out to the community celebration at Cheli's Chili Bar as the Flame of Hope made its way down the streets of Detroit. The event was emceed by WXYZ's Ann Marie LaFlamme.
The Unified Relay Across America continues tomorrow (June 9) as the Flame of Hope travels from Detroit to Ann Arbor, then on to Lansing for a community celebration at the State Capitol from 5:00-7:00 pm. The Flame of Hope will then travel from Lansing to Fort Wayne, Indiana on Wednesday, June 10.
On May 14, 2015, the Flame of Hope was lit by the rays of the sun during a ceremony conducted by High Priestesses with intellectual disabilities in Athens, Greece. The torch was then passed to the Guardians of the Flame, Law Enforcement officers from throughout the world who represent the Law Enforcement Torch Run. After the official lighting, the flame began its official journey to the Special Olympics World Games and arrived in Washington, D.C., where the relay then split into three simultaneous routes starting in Augusta, Maine; Miami, Florida; and Washington, D.C.