When the floodwaters started rising in Weld County, families’ futures were uncertain. But those futures were even more uncertain for the hundreds of special needs families across northern Colorado, and now groups are coming out of the woodwork to help in any way they can.
Special Olympics Colorado will host its second annual Miles of Smiles 5K Run/Walk Saturday at Boardwalk Park in Windsor. This year’s event is more than a typical footrace, said Andy Gonzales, northeast area manager for the group. Following the run that begins at 9 a.m., there will be walk and then a family walk, plus music throughout and a pancake breakfast at the finish line — all in an effort to give back.
Half of the proceeds from race registration and vendor sign-ups will go back to a flood relief charity. The other half will go back to the northeast division of Special Olympics, Gonzales said.
At least five athletes and their families that Gonzales knows of were ravaged by the floodwaters and lost some, if not all, of their homes, their keepsakes and their way of life. That number might be higher — Gonzales oversees nearly 3,000 athletes in the 11 county region — and it’s clear people want to help out and give back.
It’s typical of the northern Colorado region, he said.
“The community has always been there for Special Olympics and our athletes,” he said. “They volunteer. They do everything they can. It’s our turn now to give back and show how much we do care and how much we love our community.”
Registration costs $25. To sign up, go to www.RunRaceRegister.com or bring cash or a check to the start line. For more information about becoming a sponsor, vendor or just general questions, contact Kaitlyn Smith at email@example.com or at (720) 385-4628.