© Jocelyn Turner - Amherst Daily News
Robert Small, Stu Colson, David Mosley and Keith Hunter show their support for the local Special Olympics athletes by tying up their Red Laces. The campaign officially kicks off Oct. 25.
AMHERST – Special Olympic athletes from across the county will be heading to their competitions in July. Fundraising for their travels have already begun with one campaign in particular going nation wide.
The red laces are already on sale through coaches of the Special Olympics team and the money raised goes to cover travel expenses when the teams go to the Olympics this year.
“There are about 63 athletes in the Amherst area,” said Colson. “Summer games are different. We have Botchy games and soccer. In the winter we have floor hockey and something new we’re trying to start, a curling game. We also have basketball and bowling in recreation games.”
There are two Olympics each year instead of having one every two years. Being able to go to the Olympics, Colson said, is the highlight of their year. All the athletes get to see their friends and participate in some of their favorite games.
“It’s not about winning for them, it’s more about the social aspect,” said Susan Hoeg, one of the coaches with the Amherst team. “For three days, they are with their peers and to them, they are the most important people in the world. No one disrespects them, and it’s their time. It’s pretty special.”
In order to send all their athletes to the Olympics, the coaches have to raise around $10,000. The town of Amherst has already donated $500 from their special events fund. A lot of their funding comes from the Lion’s Club.
The official launch for the Red Lace Campaign is Oct. 25. Money raised through sales of the laces will help send Cumberland County athletes to the first round of Olympic games in Yarmouth in July.