Cathy Wilson is going to participate again in the “Best Buddies Challenge” bicycle ride, ending at Hearst Castle on Sept. 7. But this time, she won’t be there casually as a San Simeon official (she retired in July 2012 after nearly nine years as postmaster). She also won’t be on a bike.
She’ll be walking in the 5K Run/Walk, her first-ever entry in such an athletic fundraiser.
Wilson’s hoping donors will contribute to her efforts on behalf of the nonprofit cause that motivates all the participants: Creating opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Donations may be sent to: Best Buddies Challenge, Attn: Hearst Castle Donations, P.O. Box 51597, Boston MA 02205. In the memo line, write “For Cathy Wilson.”
During in-person and email interviews, Wilson recalled that, as a local official, she would watch the Best Buddies team set up the finish line for the event and meet crew members and participants. “I also was fortunate enough to be a spectator at the finish line,” she said, and attended the celebrity bike races, barbecue and concerts on several occasions.
When she retired, she told her somewhat astonished daughter and postal successor in San Simeon, Connie Gonzales, that her mom was still going to be involved in the event, but this time as an entrant.
Anthony Shriver, brother of former California First Lady Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger, founded Best Buddies in 1989. The nonprofit organization is described on www.bestbuddies.org as a “vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States, and in 50 countries around the world.”
The website notes that “as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with (intellectual and developmental disabilities) secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships.”