Athletes, donors and volunteers gathered on the Halifax Common Saturday for Motionball, an action-packed day of activity to raise money for the Special Olympics.  

“Our objective was to introduce the next generation of donors, volunteers and sponsors to Special Olympics through integrated social and sporting events,” says Paul Etherington, chairman and co-founder of Motionball.

Motionball includes nine sporting events spread out across the Halifax Common. The first event was held in Toronto in 2002. Now, it’s spread across the country.

“Basketball, motionball, and they got all kinds of teams work here, get together, and have fun,” says Motionball participant Sean Jeffrey.

Eighteen events are held in 11 Canadian cities. The event hopes to break social barriers between participants and bring the Special Olympic community together.

“By lunchtime they’re piggy-backing themselves into lunch, they’re high-fiving, they’re exchanging Facebook,” says Dave Jones, Halifax event co-ordinator.

The event was successful in reaching its fundraising goal of $80,000. But event co-organizer Cher Digdon says that’s not all that brings people back year after year.

“One of the athletes turned to me and was crying,” she says. “I asked him what was wrong, and he said, ‘I’m just so proud of you.’”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw.