Community

Special Olympics awareness boosted with Safeway's support

Carson Buzdegan, Kailyn Potomak, Chris Lawrie, Kyle Litfin and Trevin Martel are members of the Special Olympics BC Langley basketball team. - Dan Ferguson/Langley Times
Carson Buzdegan, Kailyn Potomak, Chris Lawrie, Kyle Litfin and Trevin Martel are members of the Special Olympics BC Langley basketball team.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

Special Olympics Canada partnered with Safeway stores in Western Canada from March 7 to 21 to bring greater awareness about Special Olympics, athletics for people with intellectual disabilities. They benefit from the transformative power and joy of sport.

The Special Olympics BC, Langley basketball squad visited Safeway’s Willowbrook store to help promote the campaign.

They are one of four basketball squads on SOBC’s provincial team for the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games in Vancouver. They qualified through their performance at the 2013 Special Olympics BC Summer Games held in Langley.

There are many Langley members on Team BC 2014 — Langley has the most athletes on the Team BC training squad of any community.

Safeway’s annual campaign provides significant support for Special Olympics athletes and programs all over the province. Last year the Willowbrook Safeway store alone raised $2,136 for Special Olympics, and $419,595 was raised for Special Olympics across Western Canada.

Safeway customers who donated $2 to the campaign received five AirMiles Reward Miles. One hundred per cent of all funds raised go directly to support the programs and help local families.

“Through their annual campaign and year-round support, Safeway has had a significant impact on the lives of Special Olympics BC (SOBC) athletes and programs throughout the province,” said Dan Howe, SOBC President and CEO. “The generosity of Safeway and their staff and customers provides critical support for SOBC’s empowering programs and events for more than 4,300 athletes in 57 communities around the province. And the awareness raised through Safeway’s campaign helps our communities become more inclusive, supportive, and respectful places. We are so grateful to Safeway and all who contribute to the campaign.”

Jamie Robinson has been an SOBC Abbotsford athlete for 10 years, and she participates in everything from rhythmic gymnastics and curling to basketball and powerlifting. Her parents Doug and Kathie are Safeway employees, and Jamie is a Safeway alumna who enthusiastically volunteers with the Special Olympics events at Safeway.

“Special Olympics has positively impacted Jamie’s life and helped her create a huge network of friends,” says Kathie Robinson. “It has helped her confidence. And it has opened her eyes to different sports that we would never have introduced her to because we don’t participate in them.”

“As a company that proudly employs hundreds of people living with intellectual disabilities, we see firsthand the benefits the Special Olympics programs have brought to their lives. Our partnership with this amazing organization is a natural fit for us,” said Mike Nash, vice president British Columbia, Safeway Operations, Sobeys Inc.

For more information, see Safeway Canada, Special Olympics British Columbia on Facebook. For more about Special Olympics Canada, see www.specialolympics.ca.

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