BOSTON (WHDH) - Walking – and pedaling – in his family’s footsteps, Anthony Shriver is gearing up to bike from Boston to Hyannisport in the annual Best Buddies Ride.

From an idea born in a college dorm 30 years ago, Shriver has grown Best Buddies into a global organization.

“Basically, Best Buddies is about offering support, encouragement and leadership opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can realize their full dreams,” he explained.

Shriver’s biggest supporter was his mom, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics.

“She was huge for me personally. On so many different levels,” he said. “What the Beatles are to music, my mother was to this field, you know? She just was a giant.”

Shriver and his mother were inspired by Rosemary Kennedy – Anthony Shriver’s aunt who was a sister to a president and lived with intellectual disabilities.

“Rosemary was really cut out of our family for a good several decades and it was not my grandparents’ fault. It was, I believe, how our country treated this population. How they were ashamed and embarrassed to have a child with special needs,” he said. “My mother made it OK. She made it where parents would be proud.”

7NEWS is a proud partner with Best Buddies – a relationship that was forged by the late owner of Channel 7, Ed Ansin.

“I think he saw how disenfranchised – like my mother – this population was, and you know, being a giant like him, and sharing his treasure and his time — he really gave his time and showed up at events. He’d meet our buddies – he was sincere,” said Shriver.

Best Buddies is dedicated to bringing out everyone’s best through friendships and employment opportunities. At Boston investment firm Eaton Vance, Billy O’Brien moves furniture and delivers mail. Though O’Brien did not want to be interviewed, his boss Dan Cataldo sings his praises.

“He’s probably one of our most dedicated, conscientious, well-liked employees,” said Cataldo. “In return, Billy gets what every other employee gets which is good compensation, good benefits package, good retirement plan.”

To help keep Best Buddies moving forward – hundreds of riders will be biking as many as 100 miles this Saturday in the organization’s biggest fundraiser.

“People with special abilities have talent. God-given talent and ability to really share with our community to make our communities, our culture and our economy stronger, more caring, more sensitive, more engaged,” said Shriver. “We’re there to celebrate our people with special needs and to see them front and center and to see all the supporters coming together is a home run for us.”

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