(WFXR) — Each year, law enforcement throughout the commonwealth carries ‘The Flame of Hope’ raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics Virginia athletes.

This all leads up to the final mile at the University of Richmond to kick off the Summer games.

Now, the torch run is not your typical marathon, law enforcement officers either bike, walk, or run to support people with intellectual disabilities.

“The important part is that they are raising funds so that our athletes can compete completely free of charge, receive those health services completely free of charge, and also build those relationships with law enforcement officers,” said Katelynn Howell, Director of Development with Special Olympics Virginia.

Howell explains with the funding, Special Olympics Virginia athletes get to participate in much more than sports, and it’s not just for kids it’s for people of all ages.

“We provide athletic competitions, sports competitions as well as training and health programs,” said Howell.

A law enforcement officer with the Virginia Department of Corrections explains why she finds the event important.

“It gives folks in our positions an opportunity to be a mentor or to be a role model for folks, and really open opportunity to give something back,” said Laura Pascal, Evidence-Based Correctional Practices unit with Virginia Department of Corrections.

Pascal says she participated in the Torch Run event every year since she started working there, and is now doing it on a worldwide level.

“My whole reason for doing it is I just want people to experience what I experience, the joy that comes out of it, and being a part of a special fundraiser,” said Pascal.

If you want to join a run, local law enforcement agencies will be hosting runs all week, throughout the commonwealth, ending on June 9.