Best Buddies: Comrades in Arms
By Aaron Gouveia
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May 31, 2009 6:00 AM
Cape Cod Times  

CENTERVILLE — It's been almost a year since New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was on the football field, but he scored a touchdown yesterday at Craigville Beach. 

Brady, along with a cavalcade of sports stars and other celebrities, was in Centerville to raise money for the Best Buddies organization. Hundreds of cyclists rode in either the 100-, 50-, or 20-mile challenges to help enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

Brady served as the honorary chairman of the event, now in its 10th year, which raised $3.6 million yesterday, according to the Best Buddies Web site. 

The star quarterback talked with participants, signed autographs and rode in a tandem bike race with his Best Buddy Katie Meade. 

Brady was aided by a slew of other celebrities including Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, Miss Teen USA 2008 Stevi Perry, Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady on "The Brady Bunch," and actor Verne Troyer, best known for his role as "Mini Me" in the "Austin Powers" movies. 

Brady's teammates, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, Nick Kaczur and Pierre Woods, also pitched in and each raced with a Buddy. 

A group of students from the Best Buddies program at Harwich High School was in the VIP section at the finish line yesterday, and they were able to meet some of their favorite sports stars. 

Micah Perry, 21, had his shirt signed by Brady, and 16-year-old Joe Adle won a medal for coming in first during a tandem bike race in which he was teamed up with Patriots linebacker Pierre Woods. 

Having a Best Buddy is a prize in and of itself, but when that Buddy is a professional athlete, there are certain fringe benefits. 

"Joe said he thought one of the helpers looked cute so I got him a dance with her," Woods said.Woods, 27, said riding a tandem bike is a far cry from the 1964 Schwinn he had growing up. But it's all for a good cause, he said. 

"This is my first time and I came out because a lot of the other guys were talking about it," Woods said. "It's really fun and a great opportunity." 

Ann Marie Dooley, a teacher at Harwich High School, said the Best Buddies program is vital to help kids with intellectual disabilities fit in with their peers. 

"It's great just for the friendships and the everyday things like being able to eat lunch with friends in the cafeteria," Dooley said. "The kids get to experience high school like everyone else." 

Best Buddies was founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver. Since 2000, the Best Buddies Challenges in Massachusetts and California have raised more than $27 million for Best Buddies programs worldwide.

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