Aldergrove’s Chris Lakusta raised five times his initial target for Special Olympics in Langley (special to Langley Advance Times)

Updated: Langley Special Olympics virtual run participant raises more than six times his initial goal

‘Thank you to everyone who donated,” Chris Lakusta said

When Chris Lakusta set his goal for the first-ever Virtual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics BC (SOBC), the Aldergrove athlete aimed low, setting a target of $1,000.

As donations began pouring in, he kept raising the target.

By Sunday, June 7, the final day of the event, his official goal was $5,750, and as of Monday, Lakusta had raised $6,535 or 114 per cent of his target.

“Just thank you to everyone who donated,” Lakusta said, when asked for his comment.

Lakusta had earlier issued an online appeal on the Langley Special Olympics Official Group Facebook page, saying “I know we can do even better, so please donate.”

“All money raised will stay in Langley to benefit myself and my fellow athletes,” Lakusta explained.

He added donations can be still made online for one more week, through his Special Olympics fundraising page.

Lakusta, a 32-year resident of Aldergrove, is well known for his volunteer activities.

In March, he was named ‘Volunteer of the Decade’ for 10 years of work behind the scenes for the Aldergrove Kodiaks team, volunteering weekly to bring the sights and sounds of the game by video to online viewers.

READ MORE: Longtime Aldergrove volunteer surprised with red carpet award ceremony on ice

His mom, Laurie Lakusta, described his reaction as delighted and a little overwhelmed.

“He has so many friends in the community,” Laurie told the Langley Advance Times.

On Saturday morning, a neighbour dropped by with a donation.

“Everybody has really gotten on board,” Laurie enthused.

“It’s amazing.”

Laurie said the donations are espcially important this year for Langley Special Olympics athletes, because other fundraisers, like their bottle drive and walkathon, have had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

Every year in June, Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics BC members around the province usually lace up to hit the pavement together with police in their communities, raising vital funds and awareness to benefit SOBC athletes and programs.

READ MORE: B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

But this year, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, they are holding the first-ever virtual run for SOBC.

To recognize the 30th anniversary of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOBC, the event’s fundraising goal was $30,000 and runners and walkers were looking to cover a combined distance of 3,000 kilometres.

However, donations have well exceeded that target and the new goal is now to raise $60,000.

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