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Inaugural Special Olympics Florida Walkathon to take place on beach

February 13, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Join the inaugural Special Olympics Florida Walkathon at the Ascension Knights of Columbus Ascension Parish grounds later this month to raise money for the athletes.

Grand Knight Dennis Robinson said it's the first time they are holding the walkathon, and it's the first time ever being held in Lee County.

The idea stemmed from the Knights of Columbus state convention, which is held every year in Orlando. The convention always features a presentation about the Special Olympics because the Knights of Columbus have partnered with them since its origin 50 years ago.

"I had two of my members that had never gone to a state convention. They saw the presentation and listened to the Special Olympian and were very moved by it," Robinson said.

From there questions were asked why they have never been involved with the Special Olympics, and if there was anything they could do.

Robinson said he came up with the Special Olympics Florida Walkathon, which will be hosted by the Knights of Columbus 10318 Ascension Council, Saturday, Feb. 23 in the church parking lot, 6025 Estero Blvd.

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The walkathon is open to anyone and everyone who wants to attend. Individuals can register in advance, $25, by contacting Robinson at (239) 440-5511, or by emailing him at Registration will increase to $30 the day of the event.

"All the participants will get a T-shirt," he said, so they can wear them during the walkathon.

The walkathon, which will be held around the church's parking lot perimeter, will begin at 9 a.m. with the first lap being escorted by Knights of Columbus Florida Fourth Degree District Master Charles McLaughlin, as well as a few other dignitaries. Special Olympians will also be in attendance.

"You can walk as many laps as you want," Robinson said, adding that it can be as few as one lap. "Whatever you can do to help the Special Olympics. I think it is going to go over very well."

After the walk concludes there will be food for everybody, by donation.

"My goal is to raise $2,500 for Special Olympics. I think it can go a lot higher than that," Robinson said.

He is also working with the Town of Fort Myers Beach to receive a proclamation for Feb. 23 being dedicated as Special Olympics Day.

Volunteer driven organization, Special Olympics Florida - Lee County, provides year-round sports programs for persons 8 years of age and older with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the athletes and their families. The program includes training and competition in aquatics, golf, bowling, basketball, track and field, cycling, soccer, bocce, tennis, flag football, and standup paddle.

For more information, visit

The Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882, is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization. There are nearly 2 million members and 15,000 councils, who support a broad spectrum of charitable causes both locally and internationally.



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