Thursday marked the first “Be A Fan Day” for Special Olympics Canada, an event asking Canadians to lace up with bright red shoe laces to raise awareness for the organization and its supporters, especially those in law enforcement.
“Be A Fan Day” was created in collaboration with Ontario’s Special Olympics organization. The approach to publicity has been primarily grassroots. Along with a dedicated website, BeAFanCanada.com, promotional posters and flyers were created with the help of partners at Veritas Communications. But social media has been the driving force of what is essentially a word-of-mouth awareness campaign among community members and law enforcement personnel.
The Special Olympics has had a long-running partnership with members of Canadian law enforcement. Police have raised more than $40 million in support of the Special Olympics over the past 25 years through initiatives such as the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which raised $100,000 in its inaugural 1987 event in Southern Ontario. It has since expanded to 10 provinces.
“Be A Fan Day is meant to be a day of celebration for the coaches and athletes of the Special Olympics, but also of those who support them,” said Mary-Margaret Jones, who oversees marketing and public relations for the organization. She said that police organizations “have gone so far above and beyond the call of duty for us over the years. The word is truly ‘exemplary.’”
Special Olympics Canada hopes to make the event annual.