WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2011 /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 Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America, will serve as Chairman of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington, D.C. More than 1,200 people are expected to participate in the Challenge – a charity walk, run and ride to benefit Best Buddies International – on October 22.
"I am deeply honored to serve as Honorary Chair of this year's Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington D.C.," said de Nysschen. "And I am particularly proud of the extended level of connection our company has established with Best Buddies since the inception of the partnership. This year, with over 100 employees, dealers, partners and their friends and families joining the Audi team, our participation once again reflects this commitment."
Additionally, Ted Leonsis, Owner, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and Washington Wizards, and his buddy Ken Holden, a Best Buddies participant, will join de Nysschen as Honorary Co-Chairs.
US Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), US Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), US Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), US Senator Tom R. Harkin (D-IA), US Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS), US Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), US Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), US Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (Democratic Leader), US Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), US Senator Marco A. Rubio (R-FL), and US Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) have also graciously agreed to join the Challenge's Political Ambassador Committee to help promote not only the event, but also inclusion for individuals with IDD.
"I personally know how much people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have to offer if just given the chance," said Senator Harkin. "I have always worked toward creating a world where all people, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, have meaningful opportunities for participation and inclusion. Best Buddies works every day to achieve this goal, and I am so proud to support their work."
On Saturday, October 22, hundreds of cyclists will take to the starting line at the base of the Washington Monument on the National Mall for a 100K (62-mile) or 20-mile ride through our nation's capital. The Challenge, which is open to participants of all ages and abilities and is designed to showcase the Best Buddies mission in action, also features the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5K run/walk led by the Olympic gold-medalist himself, and the Celebrity-Student Fun Run, a 5K run/walk for high school and college students led by "Glee's" Lauren Potter, who is also serving as Honorary Chair of the Fun Run.
"I am looking forward to leading the Celebrity-Student Fun Run, because I want to help raise awareness about Best Buddies," said Potter. "Best Buddies is very important, because it helps makes everyone – especially kids and young adults with intellectual disabilities - feel included! I hope that people who watch me on 'Glee' will want to join me in supporting this amazing organization!"
Several other celebrities, professional athletes and special guests are also expected to participate in the Challenge, including pop artist Romero Britto; Miss Teen USA Danielle Doty; American cycling legend Bobby Julich; and American Olympic cyclist Bobby Lea and his brother Syd Lea, a Special Olympics gold-medalist in cycling, all of whom will be encouraged to compete in Friendship Races on tandem bicycles. This year, there will be a special Friendship Race in honor of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver called the Family Challenge, during which participants will be invited to compete with their mothers and fathers for gold, silver and bronze medals.
The Challenge will be capped off by a luncheon and private musical performance by Kool & The Gang.
In addition to Title Sponsor Audi, Challenge sponsors include: May Liang & Jim Lintott, the Capital Trust Group, Gerry Klingman & Associates, the Leonsis Foundation, Bosch Diesel Systems, Rosetta Stone, Perfect Sense Digital, Niche Media, and NBC.
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' seven formal programs – Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs and Ambassadors – 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 or www.bestbuddieschallenge.org.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. During 2010 Audi was the top performing luxury brand in Europe, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. Over the next few years, AUDI AG will invest nearly $16 billion on new products and technologies. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.
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SOURCE Best Buddies International