Stand up for inclusion: Anne Finucane discusses Special Olympics

By Anne Finucane, Global Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer |  Mar 05, 2015

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

I’m fortunate enough to work with nonprofit organizations around the world, large and small, dedicated to addressing the countless challenges we face.

Few are as impactful as Special Olympics.

Through various partnerships and as a board member, I’ve seen firsthand the transformational power that Special Olympics programs can have on individuals with intellectual disabilities. Think that’s only a small part of the population? Think again. According to the World Health Organization, up to 200 million people worldwide fall into this category, and these men, women and children face negative stereotypes every day.

Special Olympics works to break down those barriers by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. This is possible thanks to an impressive network of supporters, including individuals, foundations and businesses.

Those ranks are about to grow significantly. This summer, everyone has a chance to join the movement for inclusion by participating in the Unified Relay Across America, a 46-day torch run that will visit all 50 states and bring the Flame of Hope from Athens, Greece to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.

There are many ways to participate in the Unified Relay, which begins May 26. Anyone can be a torchbearer by registering as an individual or team for a half-mile walk or run segment or a five-mile bike segment. There will also be volunteer opportunities with local Special Olympics chapters during the relay, and a chance to cheer on athletes and participants if the relay is coming to your city or town.

This is an amazing opportunity to join family, friends and colleagues in supporting people with intellectual disabilities. An event like this doesn’t come around often, and it has the potential to make a lasting impact.

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