BOSTON, May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is pleased to announce that the 14th Annual Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, presented by Country Kitchen, will take place on May 31 and June 1. More than 1,500 people are expected to participate in the Challenge – a charity walk, run and ride to benefit Best Buddies International. Tom Brady, the New England Patriots Quarterback and a Best Buddies Global Ambassador, will serve as Honorary Co-Chair and lead Team Tom Brady to the finish line. This year, for the first time, Congressman Joe Kennedy III will join Brady as the event's Honorary Co-Chair.
"Best Buddies is an amazing organization with a strong message to share, and I'm honored to once again take part in the Challenge," said Tom Brady. "I hope my role as Honorary Co-Chair will continue to bring attention to its important mission of friendship and inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities all across the world."
"For fourteen years the Best Buddies Challenge has given individuals across the country a dynamic way to support people with disabilities," said Congressman Kennedy. "I'm so proud to join Anthony K. Shriver, co-chair Tom Brady, and the hundreds of other men and women taking the challenge this year. In the wake of the Boston marathon tragedy, I'm especially appreciative of the thoughtful tribute to the victims and their families."
Best Buddies will dedicate this year's Tom Brady Football Challenge and Guy Fieri Celebrity Chef Tailgate, on May 31, which serves as the kick-off event for the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, to those individuals most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15.
"I was born in Boston and have deep family roots there, so I wanted to be sure Best Buddies played a small role in showing support for all those who have been affected by this tragedy," said Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman, Best Buddies International. "I am pleased that our supporters will join us in our efforts; together, we will work with our partners to help our friends in Boston in an appropriate and respectful manner."
Best Buddies will invite four individuals affected by the tragedy to play alongside Brady and Best Buddies program participants and supporters as special guests in the game. "Boston Strong" signage will also be displayed throughout the game as a symbol of Best Buddies' support for and solidarity with the city of Boston. At halftime, 15 individuals who ran in, but did not complete, this year's Boston Marathon as part of Team Best Buddies will take a ceremonial lap around the field. Brady and Best Buddies participants will then greet them at the "finish line" and present each of them with a medal. Additionally, In lieu of selling tickets to the game, Best Buddies will encourage all attendees to make a donation to The One Fund, which will be collected as they enter Harvard Stadium and in the stands.
Last year, several New England Patriots past and present, including Tedy Bruschi, Rob Gronkowski, Dan Koppen, Jerod Mayo and Nate Solder, joined Brady in the game; several are expected to do so this year, as well, along with Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri and Olympic Gold-Medalist Carl Lewis. The public is welcome and encouraged to come out and cheer them on - to reserve free tickets to the game, please visit: http://bestbuddieschallenge.org/hp/tom-brady-football-challenge-ticket-request-form/.
The game will be followed by the Guy Fieri Celebrity Chef Tailgate Party, hosted by Guy Fieri, a best-selling cookbook author and host of several Food Network shows, including "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" and "Guy's Big Bite." Fieri will work with several lucky Best Buddies participants, who will serve as his sous-chefs and help him prepare food for this fabulous feast.
On Saturday, June 1, hundreds of cyclists, including cycling legend George Hincapie - who will lead a number of participants in the first ever Hincapie's Gentleman Race - will take the starting line at Boston's John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum for the picturesque 100-mile ride portion of the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, from Boston to Hyannis Port. The Challenge is open to participants of all ages and abilities and is designed to showcase the Best Buddies mission in action. It also features alternative 50 and 20-mile cycling routes, as well as the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5K run or walk led by the Olympic gold-medalist himself.
Several other celebrities, professional athletes and special guests are also expected to participate in the Challenge, in addition to the aforementioned ones, including, Actor Verne Troyer, "Glee's" Lauren Potter, who is also a Best Buddies Board Member, Miss USA Nana Meriwether, Miss Teen USA Logan West and New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. They will all be invited to compete in "Friendship Races" on tandem bicycles.
The Challenge will be capped off by a New England-style clambake and private concert by Dennis DeYoung – the music of Styx, which all participants and special guests are invited to attend. During the festivities, Andrew Barowsky, Vice Chairman, Innovation, Flowers Foods, will be presented with the organization's Spirit of Friendship Award.
In addition to Brady and Congressman Kennedy, Gary Greenfield, Partner Court Square Capital Partners; John Hailer, President & CEO, US & Asia, Natixis Global Asset Management; and Anthony K. Shriver have committed to serve as Challenge Co-Chairs.
Country Kitchen will return as Presenting Sponsor of the Challenge, and Audi of America will once again return as the official vehicle sponsor. Additional Challenge sponsors include: Hyannis Port Club Sponsors BNY Mellon, Pepsi, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Greenberg Traurig LLP; Cape Club Sponsors Avid Technology, Inc., CVS Caremark, Anonymous and Natixis Global Asset Management; Craigville Beach Club Sponsors Bank of America Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Demoulas Markets, Eaton Vance Corp., FIJI Water, the official water of Best Buddies International, Highland Street Foundation, John Hancock, Joe Shay, Jr. Family, Mark Edward Partners, Pilot Air and Yawkee Foundation; VIP 5-Pack Sponsors The Hanson Family and TJX Companies; and Media Sponsors Bicycling Magazine, The Boston Globe, CBS Radio/98.5 The Sports Hub, Getty Images, the official photography sponsor of Best Buddies International, NBC/WHDH, Niche Media, the premier magazine sponsor of Best Buddies International and WBUR/NPR.
About Best Buddies International:
Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies' eight formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs, Ambassadors, and Promoters — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 700,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org, facebook.com/bestbuddies or twitter.com/bestbuddies.
SOURCE Best Buddies International