Special Olympics ‘Flame of Hope’ makes its way through Valley on July 5

The first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America will stop in Phoenix on Sunday, July 5 at approximately 7 p.m. at the Bank of America building at 201 E. Washington St.

More than 120 bank employees and community members will join local residents and Special Olympics supporters in helping 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 25.

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.

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, Fla.; and Washington, D.C

In its role as presenting sponsor, Bank of America is providing financial and volunteer support to the Unified Relay. Bank of America employees in Phoenix are encouraging participation among individuals, families and businesses.

“Special Olympics opens incredible opportunities for special needs children and adults and brings great comfort to special needs parents and families,” said Benito Almanza, Arizona Market President for Bank of America, who will be among those carrying the torch.

“Many of our employees know firsthand the value of Special Olympics and we are both honored and excited to participate in the Torch Run.”

The Unified 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.

Participants and supporters can also follow the Flame of Hope at www.unifiedrelay.org as it makes its way across the United States  and donate to the Special Olympics by texting FLAME to 91999.


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