Event raises $60,000 for Best Buddies program

Friends don’t always make a lasting impact, but in Best Buddies the friendships are said to be life-changing.

Members of the University of Miami Best Buddies chapter participated in the first Best Buddies Friendship Walk on Saturday to raise awareness about intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The 2.2-mile walk raised $60,000 for the Best Buddies programs of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

Junior Ashley Tirado, president of the university’s chapter, has been buddies with Evelyn Mathos, a 35-year-old with Down Syndrome.

“It feels great to be here,” Tirado said. “It’s not so much what you give, but what you get in return. The friendship itself is life-changing; they find happiness in everything.”
Best Buddies operates accredited programs in 50 countries and has almost 1,500 chapters around the world.

“People with disabilities also have great capabilities,” said Martha Lagarde, area director of Best Buddies. “We want everyone to know more about Best Buddies, to get more information, and to hopefully become involved. We are also here to educate the parents of people with IDD, by letting them know that Best Buddies exist and that we can help people with disabilities be part of society.”

Alejandra Gutierrez may be contacted at agutierrez@themiamihurricane.com.