• Best Buddies hopes to open Memphis chapter


    For most of us our first best buddy is our mom or dad.

    In the case of Eddie in the TV series with the late Bill Bixby the buddies were father and son. But just like the TV series sooner or later kids branch out and find a new best buddy.

    Only for some kids it's not so easy.

    "I took Hunter to a pool party and a bunch of girls in the pool and Hunter jumped in the pool," said Melissa Todd, mother of a special needs child. "One of the girls jumped out of the pool and said her mom told her she was not allowed to swim in same pool as Hunter. I think my best friend and I cried for about two days over that. It was very heartbreaking."

    Todd and her very best buddy is Kristin Barek. Both have children with intellectual disabilities, and both have felt the pain of having the loves of their lives hurt by people who just did not understand how wonderful their children are.

    "She was playing on the playground and some kids came up and said they didn't want to play where she was playing," Barek said, who is also a mother of a special needs child. "Don't know if they were intimidated by her hearing AIDS or not or her little bit different look or what it was."

    Whatever "it" was, is heartbreaking to anyone who loves a special needs child, because they know if they just got to know their child it would be entirely different. They had heard about Best Buddies from a friend in Nashville and all it took was one finale, painful incident to motivate them into starting a Best Buddies organization in Memphis.

    "Best Buddies is a 501c3 created by Anthony Kennedy Shriver at his college campus in 1998," Todd said. "It's going to be the largest non-profit. We just don't have a Best Buddies office in Memphis.

    These two best buddies got busy and have pulled an organization together. They have sponsors, Memphis Grizzlies celebs and a group people who have committed to raising the money to open the Best Buddies office in Memphis.

    "I want him to have a Best Buddy," Todd said. "Me and my Best Buddy are doing this because I want my child and all these kids and adults to have a Best Buddy like I do, because I could not make it without my Best Buddy so, I want them him to have one."

    It's really just that simple. Everyone needs a best buddy. People like actor David Caruso and football great Tom Brady are among the thousands all over the country who have become Best Buddies to some kids that were just one buddy short of having their very own.

    Now they have Best Buddies along with all the friends that come with their Best Buddies.

    See how it works? Pretty soon no one will be without a Best Buddy.

    In November, the first ever Best Buddies Champion of the Year Gala will be held at the Esplanade Banquet Hall in Cordova.


    To learn more about Best Buddies click here:  Best Buddies of Memphis

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