Best Buddies To Run In ING New York City Marathon
Miami, Oct. 28, 2013 — 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 Jennifer Davis and Jimmy Jenson, from Los Angeles, Calif., will represent the organization and Team USA Endurance in the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 3. Sponsored by the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation and Virgin America Airlines, the pair will run the exciting 26.2 mile course through the five boroughs of New York City in honor of the Best Buddies mission and for the 800,000-plus individuals worldwide who are impacted by it.
According to the New York Road Runners Associations, if Jenson completes the marathon, he will be the very first individual with Down syndrome to cross the finish line.
“Our finish line every day is that people with intellectual disabilities are provided opportunities for the world to witness their incredible talents and abilities. It is my hope that this historical moment for Best Buddies and the entire inclusion movement will serve as a catalyst for companies to hire individuals with IDD into the workplace and for additional community support so that we can further implement our mission around the world,” said Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International.
Davis and Jenson met 12 years ago at the ARC program for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities in North Hollywood, Calif., and were instant friends. Davis serves as the Coordinator for Day Programs and Saturday Camps while Jenson, 48 is an individual with Down syndrome who lives semi-independently in a townhouse with two roommates with disabilities. Over the years Jenson has spent some holidays with Davis’ family and friends; they have enjoyed shoe shopping, eating out at restaurants, and going to the park.
One day, Jenson mentioned to Davis that he wanted to run a 5k with his friends. This interest began when Jenson saw his roommate’s excitement for running. The result established an outlet for Jenson to get into shape while demonstrating to the community the abilities of individuals with developmental disabilities. Over the next couple of years, they began a successful training program which resulted in a 69 pound weight loss for Jenson.
“It is such an honor to be able to assist my friend, Jimmy, on his journey and look back and realize how much he has taught me,” Davis said. “Yes, I was able to help Jimmy become more active, get in the community, lose weight, and tie his shoes, but he taught me about enjoying life, dancing and singing like no one is watching, and that a hug and a hot cocoa can solve almost anything. I can’t wait to see Jimmy cross the finish line in New York.”
Jenson has completed a number of long distance runs including a finish at the Los Angeles Marathon last spring as a part of Team ARC, and Davis has completed 10 marathons and six ultra-thons. Together, they will spend the next week training and preparing to run the ING New York City Marathon. According to Davis, they are receiving a lot of support from Jenson’s friends, the ARC families and staff, and the Los Angeles running community. Many people are joining in some of the training, cooking healthy meals, and offering words of encouragement.
Jenson said: “I like the marathon. I like everything: the walking, a little bit running, but not too much; my friends they cheer me on. I can do it! Jennifer and I are going to New York for Best Buddies.”
ABOUT TEAM USA ENDURANCE:
In 2013, the United States Olympic Committee launched Team USA Endurance, a fundraising platform that gives a team of amateur athletes the unique opportunity to not only support Team USA, but to be a part of Team USA. For its first race, Team USA Endurance is an official charity partner of the 2013 ING New York City Marathon and has 23 athletes running the race on Nov. 3rd, 2013. Funds raised by Team USA Endurance athletes go to support U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls. For more information, please visit www.TeamUSA.org/endurance.
About The Anthony R. Abraham Foundation:
Founded in 1976, The Anthony R. Abraham Foundation seeks to make a difference in people’s lives and foster positive change. When it comes to enhancing the quality of life, every person’s efforts matter. That’s what Anthony and Genevieve Abraham believed when they started The Anthony R. Abraham Foundation. And the fact that we’re still going strong today shows just how right they were. After more than 30 years of charitable giving, our vision remains the same:
- To provide programs and services to help people around the world become self-productive and give back to their communities
- To ensure that no child is denied medical treatment due to a lack of insurance
- To provide education that breaks barriers
- To guarantee that research into the cure of catastrophic diseases continues
- To help raise the quality of life
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 more than 1,700 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ eight formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs, Ambassadors, and Promoters — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in over 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 800,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, 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, facebook.com/bestbuddies, twitter.com/bestbuddies, or instagram.com/bestbuddies.