BOSTON, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Four hundred cyclists will gather in the early morning at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum prepared to ride 90 miles in support of Best Buddies International, a nonprofit that provides friendships and jobs to people with intellectual disabilities. In its seventh year, the Volvo Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port promises to deliver an exciting athletic event that showcases the talents of Best Buddies participants from around the country as they ride alongside avid and professional cyclists from Boston to Cape Cod on May 20, 2006. "Best Buddies is increasingly overwhelmed by the support we receive for the Challenge from community members and businesses in Massachusetts -- led by our Honorary Chairperson Tedy Bruschi -- in addition to the exceptional commitment made by others around the country and the world, including our supporters from Best Buddies Colombia," says Anthony K. Shriver, founder and chairman of Best Buddies International. "We are extremely grateful for this outpouring of goodwill, as it allows us to continue our work to end isolation for people with intellectual disabilities." Featured Riders & Celebrity Endorsement Miss Teen USA Allie LaForce will ride 90 miles with her cycling buddy, Katie Meade. The pair -- along with 15 other Buddy Pairs from around the country and the world -- represents the one-to-one friendships formed through more than 1,200 Best Buddies chapters in 23 countries. Also participating in the event are professional cyclists Frank and Mark McCormack, along with celebrities including actors Kelly Hu, Esai Morales and Vivica A. Fox, Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis, entertainer Bobby Brown, Colombian pop star Carlos Vives and several members of the New England Patriots. Tedy Bruschi Gets Fired Up Riders can rest and refuel at manned stops in Nowell, Duxbury, Plymouth and Sandwich, Massachusetts, where a 20-mile version of the ride will be kicked off by Honorary Chairperson Tedy Bruschi. The day ends at President Kennedy's Hyannis Port home with a celebrity tandem race, where members of the New England Patriots and other celebrity guests complete a 4-mile course on tandem bikes with Best Buddies participants with intellectual disabilities, followed by a lobster clambake and private concert performed by pop icons, the Go-Go's. Sponsor Involvement and Fundraising Since their inception in 2000, Best Buddies' cycling events in Massachusetts and California have raised more than $14 million for Best Buddies programs throughout the world -- enabling thousands of friendship and employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. The Challenge is televised nationally on NBC Sports -- and regionally on WB56 -- thus broadcasting Best Buddies' mission into the homes of more than two million viewers across the country. Sponsors of the event, including title sponsor Volvo and presenting sponsor Pepsi, provide funding and in-kind support covering all event expenses. 100% of the money raised by riders goes directly to Best Buddies friendship and job programs. "I participated in last year's Volvo Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port and witnessed firsthand the spectacular impact Best Buddies has on the lives of its participants," says Anne Belec, CEO, Volvo Cars of North America. "Volvo is proud to be aligned with an organization that shares such a strong commitment to families, communities and public service." Best Buddies International Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,200 middle school, high school and college campuses across the country and internationally. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States. Furthermore, the organization has accredited international programs on six continents; with additional country programs under active development. Our six formal programs -- Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, Jobs and e-Buddies(R) -- will positively impact more than 250,000 individuals this year. Best Buddies is also systematically implementing its 2010 initiative that will witness the organization's continued growth, both domestically and abroad.
SOURCE Best Buddies International