SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Mayor London Breed lit the "flame of hope" to mark the start of the Special Olympics Northern California Torch Run on Monday.
The San Francisco Police Department has partnered with the organization for 21 years.
"It's a lot of sweat and energy that goes into this, but it's for a great cause," SFPD Chief Bill Scott said. "When you actually get out here and mix up and run with the Special Olympics athletes, it brings it all together and makes it all worthwhile."
Since the mid-90's law enforcement has raised more than $14 million dollars for Special Olympics Northern California. SFPD has put more than $2 million in the pot since 1998.
All of the money goes directly to the athletes. More than 23,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities participate in the region.
"For Special Olympics, 90 percent of our budget is spent directly on programs so there's no fee for our athletes to participate," David Solo, President of Special Olympics Northern California, said. "We estimate it costs about $250 per sports season per athlete."
"It's all about community, caring and giving back to the community," Melinda Yee Franklin, managing director, corporate and government affairs of the western region for United Airlines, said. United Airlines was a sponsor for the event.
The 9-mile torch run winds through city with the same goal every year, to raise as much money and awareness as possible.
If you'd like to get involved with Special Olympics Northern California, visit sonc.org.