OKLAHOMA CITY – For the first time in 12 years, the Special Olympics World Games are being held in the United States.
The Unified Relay Across America, which leads up to the event, is making stops right here in the metro.
Relay teams have been passing the Olympic Torch, which came all the way from Greece, through Midwest City and Oklahoma City.
Our friend Bob Barry, Jr. dedicated a lot of his time to the program, which allows individuals with disabilities to play in athletics.
“I love to race with my dad,” said 8-year-old Stephen Heine, who is the inspiration behind Team Stephen.
“Thank you, I love to push you in a race,” said Erik Heine.
Stephen has a rare chromosomal mutation that affects his motor skills; he communicates through an iPad and sign language.
“Ready, set, go, go, go, go,” said Erik Heine.
Stephen loves to be active, and passing this torch for the Special Olympics allows him to do that.
The flame represents a symbol of hope for his family.
“For us, it represents acceptance, inclusion, the sorts of things that any child wants to have and it gives our family the opportunity to feel just like any other family,” said Erik Heine.
Part of the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America is being dedicated to Bob Barry, Jr., who touched a lot of families across the state.
NewsChannel 4’s own Aaron Brackett ran in BBJ’s honor.
“How much he gave to the community, to the state. He’s like a landmark for Oklahoma. When you think of sports, you think of Bob Barry,” said Meg Corn, with Special Olympics Oklahoma.
Through this program, Corn hopes that many more lives are changed.
“I’ve seen so many people’s lives change, kids and adults, who maybe didn’t have anything and not only did they get a sports program, but a social life,” said Corn.
The Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in mid-July in Los Angeles.