HERNDON, Va., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Continuing its efforts to support and raise awareness of individuals intellectual and developmental disabilities, Audi is the title sponsor of the inaugural Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge, a run, walk and cycling benefit event hosted by Best Buddies International and Special Olympics that will take place at the Washington Monument this Saturday, October 23, 2010 starting at 7:30 a.m.
Audi of America's president, Johan de Nysschen, along with more than 60 employees from the company's headquarters in Herndon, Va., will participate in the sporting activities. As the largest corporate team participating in the event, the 'Audi team' has helped to fundraise more than US $ 50,000 for the driving forces behind the nation's disability movement.
"Audi is honored to support the legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver," said de Nysschen. "It is especially fitting that the inaugural EKS challenge occurs in October to coincide with the Congress-designated National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Audi truly believes that talent has no boundaries and we hope that we can contribute to building a more formal employment program in the D.C. area in the future."
Since 2007, Audi has supported a number of Best Buddies initiatives and helped to raise nearly US $ 38 million in total donations to-date for the charity. In June, Audi served as title sponsor of Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle for the third year in a row. Through Audi's partnership with Best Buddies, Audi also has had the opportunity to employ a participant from the George Mason University Best Buddies Chapter at Audi headquarters in Herndon, Va.
"Best Buddies is thrilled that Audi has agreed to be the title sponsor of the inaugural Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge, which is taking place in the company's 'hometown,'" says Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman, Best Buddies International. "We are extremely grateful for Audi's continued support, which goes way beyond the Challenge. Audi has embraced our partnership in so many ways, and on so many different levels – from encouraging its employees to support the Best Buddies mission by participating in events like the Challenge, to hiring an individual with an intellectual disability to work in its headquarters. I hope Audi's passion for and commitment to the cause inspires other companies in Washington, D.C. and beyond to get involved, too."
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge, which is Co-Chaired by Washington Wizards and Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis and his Buddy and longtime Special Olympics athlete Ken Holden, will feature a 20-mile cycling event led by Mayor Adrian Fenty, starting at the Washington Monument, proceeding up Pennsylvania Avenue, past the Capitol and through the city. The day's activities will also include the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5K run and 3K walk, led by the Olympic gold-medalist himself; a Celebrity Youth Fun Run, designed to engage and motivate young people in both movements; and the Friendship Races, which will include the Athlete/Buddy Single Race; the Corporate Tandem Relay; the Open Tandem Relay; the Family Challenge; and the Celebrity and Athlete/Buddy Tandem Race. Additional celebrities and professional athletes expected to participate in the day's festivities include: Kamie Crawford, Miss Teen USA, Lindsay Staniszewski, Miss Maryland, Tour de France cyclists Bobby Julich and Christian Vande Velde, and singer Chris Brown, The day will conclude with a luncheon for all participants and a special performance by 19/Jive Recording star David Archuleta.
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ABOUT BEST BUDDIES INTERNATIONAL
Best Buddies International 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 (IDD). Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States, as well as 46 countries, with additional ones under development. Best Buddies seven formal programs – Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies, Jobs and Ambassadors – positively impact 700,000 individuals with and without IDD annually. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with IDD secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org or www.bestbuddieschallenge.org.
ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.5 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place everyday, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood's backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.
SOURCE Audi of America, Inc.