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Best Buddies to host annual fundraising competition

By Staff | Sep 9, 2021

Best Buddies International recently announced its annual Champion of the Year Gala.

Hosted by Best Buddies in Southwest Florida, it is an annual fundraising competition organized by staff and an Event Committee and Advisory Board, featuring a select group of individuals, professionals and community leaders. The philanthropic trailblazers compete to raise the most funds for Best Buddies and earn the ultimate title of Grand Champion of the Year. By reaching out to the community to raise funds and spread awareness, candidates champion for Best Buddies, its mission, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Everyone in the Best Buddies Program touches the heart of a lot of people,” participant Julie Lyle said. “We all have different abilities and make a lot of friendships. Best Buddies does amazing zoom meetings like citizens class, Zumba, Friendship Friday, ambassador training, buddy matching and dancing. Everyone on zoom sees everyone as perfect. We all have beautiful smiles to light up and shine. We accept everyone for who they are as they are. Our only requirement is to be ourselves. That is what Best Buddies is about.”

The event will take place on Oct. 22 at the Spanish Wells Golf & Country Club in Bonita Springs. The gala will celebrate the efforts of 14 philanthropic leaders from Southwest Florida while partying with a purpose to raise funds for Best Buddies programs. It will feature a silent and live auction, dinner, cocktails, dancing, a keynote address from a Best Buddies buddy pair and a special awards ceremony. WINK News morning anchor Corey Lazar will serve as emcee with Rick Gallo as auctioneer.

This year’s gala will raise funds to expand the programs offered for students and adults with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The official kick-off party for the competition took place on Aug. 24 at Discovery Village at the Forum. Champions gathered with their top supporters and campaign managers to share their passion for inclusion and friendship. The candidates include: Matthew Boggan, Design MNB Web Design Studio; Edye Button, Cash Flow Strategies Business Coaching; Cody Eads, Florida Division of Vocational Rehab; Laura Georgelos, Coldwell Banker Realty; Haley Marra, FGCU student; Kevin Montoya, Vera Bradley at Miromar Outlets; Laura Morrina, Embassy Creek Elementary School; Alexis Poore, Publix; Sheena Reagan, Zimco Entertainment; Char Seuffert, Brightway Insurance, the Seuffert Agency; Mary Shea, La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; Team Lenny & Kristine: Lenny Cannova and Kristine Skaarsgard, Modern Woodmen of America; and Dre White, I Want That Yummy.

For more information or tickets, visit www.bestbuddieschampion.org/southwestflorida.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information, contact Area Director Melanie Musick at melaniemusick@bestbuddies.org or 859-314-5807.