By Agrippina Fadel
Tamarac resident and Special Olympics athlete Michelle Canazaro joined 150 officers from all over the county for the 40th Annual Torch Run to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics.
The Broward Law Enforcement Torch Run is part of a 1,400-mile statewide relay that culminates at the opening ceremonies of the Florida Special Olympics Summer Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista.
The race held on Wednesday started on Seabreeze Blvd in Fort Lauderdale and ended on Pompano Beach, followed by a picnic at the Pompano Fire Department.
Lt. Steve Feeley, Broward County Torch Run Coordinator, said that the Torch Run typically starts in Hallandale and ends in Deerfield Beach, but the run was shortened to ten miles this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. The pandemic also pushed the timing for the event, initially scheduled for April.
“It turned out to be a fantastic day. Michelle was very excited. She lit the torch, led the run, and then followed the race in the SWAT car, said Lt. Feeley. We had a great time,”
A multisport athlete with autism, 32-year-old Michelle Canazaro is a gold medalist of the State Games and brought silver from her first World Games in Austria in 2017.
The event supported the mission of Special Olympics Florida to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for people with intellectual disabilities.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office always supports the Torch Run, said Captain Jeff Cirminiello. “Sharing in Michelle’s day was a blessing for us. We are very happy that she lives in our city and that we got to celebrate her and raise awareness for Special Olympics. We are extremely proud of her,” he added.
Lt. Feeley said the race not only brings awareness to the Special Olympics but allows the public to see law enforcement officers for who they are – people who deeply care about the Special Olympics and their communities.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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