Andrea Zonneveld (far left) and some fellow special Olympians celebrated the end of their annual fund raising walkathon in Walnut Grove Saturday afternoon. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

Walking for the Special Olympics in Langley

Athletes, supporters and volunteers turn out for annual fundraiser

About 100 people took part in the annual Langley walkathon at the Walnut Grove Secondary School track Saturday to raise funds for the Special Olympics, most of them competitors like Langley resident Andrea Zonneveld.

Zonneveld, who estimated she has been competing in Special Olympics events for more than 20 years, currently lists track and field, softball and golf among her sports.

“Making good friends, meeting new people, volunteering,” are the attractions she listed when asked what she personally likes about the Special Olympics program.

“The thing is, for me, it’s like a second family.”

Zonneveld observed that she would like to see the program expanded, and the money raised by the walk will help.

It was the eighth annual walkathon and end-of-season barbecue by Langley Special Olympics, which represents some 200 athletes in 16 different sports – from swimming and basketball, to floor hockey and curling, and five-pin bowling to powerlifting .

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Langley Special Olympics athletes, volunteers, supporters go for morning stroll

Organizer Barry Wright said attendance was down “a little bit” from the usual 100 to 150 attendees, but he expected donations would likely remain between $8,000 and $9,000, the usual average for the event.

“The fundraising still comes in,” Wright said.

“There are still athletes who were unable to attend [the walkathon], who will bring in their fundraising sheets.”

Volunteer Tony Loynton was recognized for 30 years of service with Special Olympics at the event.

Special Olympics BC offers summer and winter sports for ages eight and up, youth programs for ages two to 18, a year-round fitness program, and athlete health initiatives.

To donate, or volunteer, or simply get more information, visit the facebook page “Special Olympics BC Langley” or email sobclangleybwright@shaw.ca.

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Photo by Christopher Lakusta

Special Olympics walkathon organizer Barry Wright said about 100 attended this year’s walkathon, down from most years, but it wasn’t expected to affect donations by much. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

Photo by Kya Bezanson

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