Corey Harber of Belconnen and ACT police Commander David McLean light the flame of hope at Parliament house on Sunday. Photo: Melissa Adams
A dedicated group was happy to raise a sweat on a balmy Canberra afternoon on Monday to mark the International Day of People with Disability.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run, from Canberra to Special Olympics Australia's Junior National Games in Newcastle, began at Parliament House.
Local athletes joined 205 Australian Federal Police and ACT and NSW police officers for the beginning of the first three-kilometre leg of the torch run to Kings Park.
Corey Harber, 15, from Belconnen lit the Flame of Hope five days before he travels to Newcastle to represent the ACT in basketball.
Corey's mother, Christine Harber, said that his speciality is three-pointer shots.
''He just loves sport. But the cost does put financial strains on you, with competitions costing a lot of money,'' Ms Harber said.
She welcomed the increase in support the National Disability Insurance Scheme is set to offer families and carers.
''With Corey playing two sports, bowling being the other, extra support would allow us to take all the opportunities that come his way.''
The chairman of the Law Enforcement Torch Run and NSW police Detective Superintendent Scott Whyte said that the torch run is the largest policing charity in the world, raising more than $42 million worldwide last year.
''I can't think of a better way to help people who are underprivileged or need a helping hand,'' Superintendent Whyte said. The Special Olympics torch will travel more than 400 kilometres to be part of the opening ceremony in Newcastle on Friday.
The ACT sailor Allister Peek, who won gold at the 2011 Special Olympics Summer World Games, said Special Olympics' athlete leadership program is helping him to become a sailing instructor.
Support for the territory's athletes can be shown by sending a ''herogram'' to them in Newcastle via the website: specialolympics.com.au.