News: Cops camping out for special kids

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Published in the August 21 2010 issue of The Edmonton Sun. News


Cops camping out for special kids

City cops and special Olympians gathered at a west-end Wal-Mart on Friday, hoping to get shoppers to help Free the Fuzz.

Edmonton police Const. Ryan May and Alberta Sheriff Chris Zelko climbed up on a scaffolding platform in front of the store at 18547 Stony Plain Rd. on Friday morning, where they will stay day and night for 54 hours in an effort to raise money for Special Olympics Alberta.

“We are doing this to raise money for athletes with intellectual disabilities so that way they can participate in sports and train in the facilities,” Zelko said. “We’re going to be on top of the scaffolding for 54 hours. We’re encouraging a lot of people to help us out, try and free us, donate as much money as possible.”

It is the first time both May and Zelko have participated in Free the Fuzz.

“I’m excited,” said May. “Throughout life I’ve worked with a lot of people with developmental disabilities and so this is a good way to help them out and give back to them.”

Police displays, raffles and fundraising activities will take place in front of the store all weekend. Officers and members of Special Olympics Edmonton will also be on hand to take donations.

“People should come out because all of the donations help to alleviate costs that we have,” said Louise Suru, general manager of Special Olympics Edmonton. “All of our athletes have an intellectual disorder, so Special Olympics enhances their lives because many of them would be socially isolated without it.”

Paul Bellemere, a special Olympian with Down Syndrome, spent Friday greeting shoppers and asking them to make donations to help him continue playing the sports he loves.

“I’ve been bowling with the Special Olympics since 2003,” Bellemere said. “Special Olympics has helped me in a lot of ways.”

Last year, law enforcement agencies from across the province raised $425,000 for Special Olympics Alberta. This year’s goal for the Edmonton event is to raise at least $40,000.

May and Zelko will be “freed” on Sunday at 4 p.m.

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