Lucas' 4th birthday was eventful, and even included a professional photo shoot for Best Buddies with his buddy, Eunice. A photo exhibit is now on display showcasing Lucas and Eunice's photo (left) -- one of 12 larger-than-life B&W images of Best Buddies participants and celebrity supporters, including Cindy Crawford, Heat's Chris Bosh, Rob Lowe, New England Patriot's Tom Brady, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Romero Britto. Look for the exhibit if you're flying through Miami International Airport -- it's in the Concession Hall/South International Wing (Terminals H and J) through May 2011. On Valentine's Day, we're attending an event to see the exhibit firsthand. We're excited and proud for Lucas to serve as ambassador for this great organization with a message of inclusion.
Best Buddies is based in Miami, but is a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for friendships, employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like Lucas. It was founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver -- Eunice and Sargent Shriver's youngest son -- and there are 1,500 chapters in middle and high schools as well as colleges all over the world. Lucas' buddy, Eunice, is Anthony's oldest daughter...a high school student now.
For those who don't know the story: Eunice met Lucas when he was not yet 2 years old...some say it was love at first sight. Eunice volunteered at the Debbie School for the summer, and although she was suppose to rotate through all the classrooms, after spending some time with the lady killer (Lucas), she became his personal "assistant" for the remainder of the summer. Eunice took her responsibilities very seriously, so one day when she was out sick, she sent in her younger sister, Francesca, who walked in and asked "where's Lucas?" and took up her post.
That fall, Eunice and Lucas continued a friendship with regular visits to the welcoming Shrivers, where Lucas made himself at home (much to his mother's dismay). The rest, as they say, is history in the making.