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 13th Annual Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, presented by Country Kitchen, will take place on June 1 and 2.

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 Chairman and lead Team Tom Brady to the finish line.

“Once you feel the commitment that so many parents make and so many of the buddies make to these programs, it’s hard not to be involved,” says Brady.

“We are looking forward to another tremendous Challenge in Massachusetts,” says Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International. “It’s incredible to see the multitude of participants who come out to support such a great cause each year. We are also extremely honored to have Tom Brady on board. To have someone of his stature, celebrity and athletic talent pay attention to our population is really unheard of in today’s day and age.”

The Tom Brady Football Challenge, which will take place at Harvard Stadium on Friday, June 1, will kick-off the weekend’s festivities. During the game, Brady will play quarterback alongside Best Buddies participants and supporters. Last year, several New England Patriots past and present, including Tedy Bruschi, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Brian Hoyer, Dan Koppen, Nate Solder, Wes Welker and Pierre Woods, as well as Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, played in the game. The public is welcome and encouraged to come out and cheer them on — for free tickets to the game, visit www.hpchallenge2012.org/tickets.

This incredible game will be followed by the Guy Fieri Celebrity Chef Tailgate Party, hosted by celebrity chef 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 2, hundreds of cyclists 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. To register and/or donate, visit www.hpchallenge2012.org.

Several other celebrities, professional athletes and special guests are also expected to participate in the Challenge, including actors Michael Chiklis and Verne Troyer, actress Lauren Potter, and many others. They will all be invited to compete in “Friendship Races” on tandem bicycles. There will also 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 team-up with their mothers and fathers to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals.

The Challenge will be capped off by a New England-style clambake and private concert by Indie-Pop band The Plain White T’s, which all participants and special guests are invited to attend.

During the celebration, Seyfarth Shaw will be presented with the “Spirit of Leadership” award — Best Buddies’ highest accolade, which is presented to those who have shown great leadership, generosity and spirit in supporting the organization’s mission. Seyfarth Shaw employs four Best Buddies participants with IDD as valued and fully integrated members of its workforce, provides donated office space to the Best Buddies Challenge staff in Massachusetts, organizes an annual ride team with hundreds of participants, and serves as a vocal and impassioned ambassador for the mission of Best Buddies throughout the United States.

“Seyfarth Shaw has been an outstanding corporate partner to Best Buddies International for over a decade, raising more than $1 million and engaging hundreds of their employees,” said Shriver. “If only we could be so lucky as to have the support of 10 companies like Seyfarth Shaw, Best Buddies could be serving thousands more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities each year.”

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