FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18)– The Kentucky Summer Special Olympics kicked off with a ceremonial lighting of the Flame of Hope at the Capitol on Friday morning.
Kenny Helm, 19, is a Special Olympic athlete from Bullitt County who is on the Autism spectrum.
“I had been getting into the spirit of the Special Olympics ever since I was a young boy. Very young boy. Eight. And I am, ever since then I grew up to be a Special Olympics runner,” said Helm.
On Friday morning, Helm joined officers from around the state to kick off the Summer games with the annual Lighting of the Flame of Hope and Torch Run beginning in Frankfort and ending at Eastern Kentucky University.
“First responders, in my opinion, are heroes. But heroes need heroes, and these young men and women that participate in the Special Olympics are our heroes. So to watch them compete just does something special to all of us,” said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders.
The commissioner said he’s been part of the Torch Run and Special Olympic for decades. He said these athletes show that there are no limits for any of us.
“They can do some amazing things and that should encourage all of us who may think there are limitations to really appreciate the fact that there are and we can do with what we have,” said Sanders. “Life is all about 10% of what we’re given, 90% in how we deal with that. And these young men and women exemplify that.”
For Helm, it’s about putting his best foot forward.
“I have really improved a lot. Let me just say this, improving is the best medicine,” he said.
You can catch Helm in the 50-yard dash Saturday morning and in the softball toss Saturday afternoon at Eastern Kentucky University.
The opening ceremony was cancelled due to rain, but events will still be held Friday night.