Justin Potts, February 1, 2014
A superstar with three Super Bowl rings, two Super Bowl MVPs and nine Pro Bowls could easily keep his offseason to himself, but Tom Brady chooses to devote some of his time to Best Buddies.
For more than a decade, Brady, a University of Michigan grad, has teamed up with the global non-profit organization that benefits people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies creates opportunities for one-on-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for its participants.
The organization provides programs in middle schools, high schools, colleges, and more, in addition to running four events called Best Buddies Challenges. This is where Brady comes in.
Every May, Brady serves as the event chair for the Best Buddies Challenge in Hyannis Port, Mass., to help raise funds for the organization. The event includes the ?Tom Brady Football Challenge,? a day full of biking, running, and walking races, and concludes with a post-event party, a lobster bake and private concert.
?The Challenges are designed so that people of all ages - and abilities - can participate in them,? said Best Buddies international board member Brad Blank. ?Each Challenge features several options, including bike rides of various lengths (15 or 20 miles to 100 miles), a walk/run and tandem bike races.?
The Best Buddies Challenge is not only a fundraising event, but it also provides an opportunity for those with IDD to get involved.
?Over the years, we have had Best Buddies participants with IDD, or ?Buddies,? participate in every portion, including the football game that kicks off our Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port,? said Blank. ?At last year?s Hyannis Port event, a cyclist with IDD was the first person to cross the 100-mile finish line. Buddies also participate in these events in many other ways, such as delivering powerful speeches or singing the National Anthem.?
The ?Tom Brady Football Challenge? takes place in Harvard Stadium, where guests get to play football with Brady and other players and celebrities such as Wes Welker, Carl Lewis, and celebrity chef Guy Fieri.
?He understands just how important our mission of inclusion for people with IDD is,? said Blank. ?More specifically, he recognizes the power of friendship, and that everyone needs a friend in order to thrive.?
For more information about how to volunteer, register to participate in the event, become a sponsor, or simply donate to Best Buddies, visit www.bestbuddieschallenge.org.