THOMAS WASPER | Flickr Creative Commons

THOMAS WASPER | Flickr Creative Commons

The Special Olympics Flame of Hope will be passing through Rexburg June 26 as part of the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America.

“Typically, our Torch Runs are for local and state Special Olympics Games,” said Holly Giglio, Eastern Regional Director for Special Olympics Idaho. “This Torch Relay is being run through all 50 states on its way to Special Olympics World Games.”

Giglio said this is the first time the Flame has passed through Rexburg for such a large event.

“Beginning on July 25, 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, will come together in Los Angeles for competition in 25 Olympic-style sports,” according to the Special Olympics Unified Relay Web page.

Giglio said Special Olympics is a worldwide organization that provides sports training and competitions for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

“The Flame of Hope represents the hope and opportunity that Special Olympics brings to people with intellectual disabilities around the world,” Giglio said.

Giglio said there are many volunteer opportunities for the public to get involved with Special Olympics.

“I hope that by having the Flame of Hope come through our local communities, that people will take notice of those people with intellectual disabilities who live among them,” Giglio said. “I hope people will reach out and learn more about those with special needs, become friends, mentors, and get involved in their lives.”

Giglio said a community celebration will be held June 26, 5-9 p.m. at Sleep Inn & Suites in Idaho Falls.

“We will be lighting the cauldron and celebrating the athletes and Torch Run arrival,” Giglio said. “The event is free and open to the public.”