Nashoba’s own Nick Giovanazzo is gearing up for the ride of a lifetime. On May 31st, Nick, accompanied by former Best Buddies President Brendan Aylward, will cycle twenty miles as part of the Best Buddies Challenge. The event is in support of Best Buddies International. Event Chair Tom Brady helps bring star power and popularity to the growing cause; 2,000 supports walked, ran, or biked last year.
Now in his fourth year at Nashoba, Giovanazzo has been training extremely hard for the twenty mile ride. “I bike every day with my mom and dad,” Nick said. “We bike for a really long time.” Nick had to decide between the ten mile ride, the fifteen mile ride, or the twenty mile ride. Picking the longest distance was a no-brainer, “Piece of cake,” said Nick about choosing the distance. Giovanazzo first learned how to ride a bike five years ago at the Lose Your Training Wheels Program in Framingham. “They were really nice and I liked it a lot,” said Nick. The program specializes in teaching children with learning disabilities how to ride bikes over a week long class.
Events like Special Olympics and the Best Buddies Challenge do an amazing job of not only breaking, but destroying barriers. ¨The best part about Special Olympics and sports in general is how differences become miniscule in comparison to the skills and abilities demonstrated by the kids,” said Aylward. ¨Nick impresses me every day I’m with him. I’m incredibly fortunate to know and work with him.¨ Their special bond will prove to be crucial in their bike ride together. Splitting the duties 50-50, the pair will be riding a tandem bike.
Nick has been a beloved member of the Nashoba community his entire life. “Nick has been a best friend to me my entire life,” said longtime friend and Best Buddies president Ben von Stetten. “Participating in and training for this race is something that Nick truly enjoys doing. Nick is in it for the fun and the happiness that competition brings him, and despite the length of the event I can promise you won’t be seeing a frown on his face come race day.”
In order to compete, Nick and Brendan need to raise $3,000. The money goes towards the Best Buddies organization. Best Buddies, as its mission statement declares, “enhances the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment”. Nashoba’s Best Buddies chapter has been hailed as one of the premier chapters in the country, recognized as an Outstanding Chapter in 2010. The program and involvement means the world to children like Nick and it also helps grow awareness and acceptance for those with intellectual disabilities. But, as Best Buddies has shown through the years, those disabilities have no effect over heart and willpower.