continued Budnar, who lives and works in Cazenovia, participates in six different Special Olympics sporting events, including downhill skiing, bocce, golf, bowling, swimming and volleyball. She wore one of her downhill skiing medals during the event on Aug. 1.
“Dunkin Donuts is such a great partner in support of the Special Olympics,” said Marian Budnar, Diane’s mother, who is also a Special Olympics swimming coach. She’s been involved in the organization for 25 years, and she and Diane were the ones who approached the Cazenovia Police Department about participating this year, said Cassandra Rucker, director of marketing for the New York Special Olympics.
“The Cazenovia location did a fabulous job this year,” Rucker said. “We’re very fortunate to have the support of 30 different police agencies, about 160 officers, almost all of them who did this volunteering their time.”
The purpose of the fundraiser is to bring attention to the fact that there are 64,659 Special Olympics athletes in New York state — that is the largest chapter in North America and the fifth largest in the world, Rucker said. The funds raised help support all the New York athletes who benefit from year-round training and competition at no charge to them, she said.
“Special Olympics athletes are five times more likely to have a job and volunteer in their community because of participating in our Special Olympics-based on mentorship and in the Olympics,” Rucker said.
This year’s fundraising goal for the Cops on Top event was $25,000, but the total intake looked like it was going to be closer to $30,000, Rucker said. Full tabulations had not been made as of press time.
Fundraising totals per event location range from $700 up to more than $2,600 at the Front Street Dunkin Donuts location in Binghamton, Rucker said.
In Cazenovia last week, more than 200 people contributed and volunteers raised $1,451, which included selling more than 40 T-shirts, Bennett said. In fact, the officers sold out their box of T-shirts, brought in a second box and sold those out too, Bennett said.