Two Mountain Pointe students took the field with Arizona Diamondback players and team representatives on Sept. 21 to accept a $30,000 donation on behalf of Best Buddies Arizona.
Cecily Abbadessa and Brett Gobel were joined by friends and family on the field to accept the oversized check courtesy of the Pepsi Refresh Project, a community outreach program that gives money to support local humanitarian projects and organizations.
Abbadessa and Gobel were recently named Best Buddy pair of the year for Arizona.
"I felt really honored to be able to represent (Best Buddies) and receive the check for them," Abbadessa said. "When they told us, I was shocked. It was hard to grasp the whole idea. I definitely needed some time to let it soak in."
The two have been buddies since Abbadessa was a freshman. She was named president of the MP chapter this year, her senior year.
Because she said it was rare that a Best Buddy pair stays together for so long, Abbadessa believes it is a tribute to the friendship that she and Gobel have built.
"There was something about Brett that just stuck with me," she said. "Everyone said we were so outstanding and we had really good connection from the start."
At MP, the part of Abbadessa's job as president of the Best Buddies organization is to pair volunteers with students in the special education program with the parents' consent.
Running the organization at MP has Abbadessa thinking about occupational or physical therapy as a career.
Her mother, Lisa, said, "she stands up for the little guys, the kids who don't have a voice.
She stands up for the kids that can't stand up for themselves."
As for her connection with Gobel, Abbadessa noted that their relationship has grown a lot in the last four years.
"He's a lot more comfortable with me now," she said. "It's one of those relationships where you can burp in front of each other and you just end up laughing about it."
To honor the pair, Best Buddies Arizona is hosting an award ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 28.
"Cecily and Brett won the 2010 Audi Spirit of Friendship award due to their long standing, strong committed friendship and the impact they have made in their community," said Maggie Speer, program supervisor for Best Buddies Arizona. "Cecily and Brett are best friends, and they also reflect what Best Buddies stands for; inclusion and acceptance.
To find out more, visit the organizations website at www.BestBuddiesArizona.org.