To join the bike ride, participants must raise a minimum amount of dollars. The next Challenge takes place at Hearst Castle in California on September 6. Three rides are on the ticket: 15 miles, 100k or 100 miles. The early-bird minimum fund-raising amount is $1700, which warrants a jersey, gift bag, tour of Hearst Castle and admission to the BBQ and concert at the Hearst Ranch. Who’s playing? The Black-Eyed Peas. Raise $3,500 and an invite to a VIP cocktail party hosted by Maria Shriver, Anthony’s sister and the First Lady of California, is included. Raise $10,000 or more and there’s also a Friday night VIP affair at the castle, also with Maria Shriver, plus a VIP dessert and dance after the concert.
At the Craigsville Beach party, notable fundraisers got their picture taken with Tom Brady. Anthony Shriver managed everything, even making sure award winners were careful ascending the stage. “Steps, steps, steps,” he pointed out to one eager fundraiser. Brady took over duties and directed a unique form of the two-minute drill, drumming up more than $20,000 in contributions from the crowd that would pay for Buddies to go to a summer leadership camp. A $1,000-contribution paid all the expenses for one Buddy. After raising more than $20,000, Brady matched it out of his own wallet and brought the total to $50,000.
Brady is deeply involved in several charity organizations, one of which is Best Buddies. Once Brady took an eight-day trip to Africa—Uganda and Ghana, in particular, organized by Debt AIDS Trade Africa—and said it had a profound effect on him. “It gave me perspective,” Brady said. “At the end of the day, what I do for a living is toss a football.” Supporting charities “is something I get a lot out from personally. It improves my life.” In addition to pulling duty during the Challenge weekend, Brady is involved in the friendship network part of the program. His Buddy is Katie Meade from Iowa, and the two have been friends for several years.
“We can help these individuals be seen, heard and hired,” Shriver said, adding emphatically that the friendship program is invaluable to everyone involved, setting off a chain reaction. “Students who participate in Best Buddies become adults who raise children with a new perspective on intellectual disabilities, based on compassion and integration. They become employers who understand the undeniable value of hiring people with intellectual disabilities, who have proven to be loyal, committed and capable. But, Eric’s words sum it up best: ‘I want to show the world that even though I have a disability, I can do anything I put my mind to.’”
The entry form to the Audi Best Buddies Challenge at Hearst Castle promises more than just a bike ride and party. By becoming involved, you can create a smile, give someone the gift of friendship and make a difference.
For more information on Best Buddies and future Challenge events, go to Bestbuddies.org.