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MIAMI (WSVN) — Hundreds of South Floridians spent part of their weekend in the sun as they sweated and walked for a really good trigger.

7News cameras captured a cheering crowd at Maurice Ferre Park in downtown Miami as they prepared to take part in the Ed Ansin Best Buddies Friendship Walk on Saturday morning.

“Let’s walk for inclusion”, mentioned a speaker.

This year’s event featured familiar faces from the 7News family, including presenters Craig Stevens and Jeff Lennox.

“We’re back, bigger and better than ever,” Stevens said, addressing the attendees.

Anthony Kennedy Shriver started Best Buddies International over 30 years ago.

“Over 1,000 people have come here and are supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” he mentioned. “That says a lot about our community.”

The nonprofit’s goal is to foster employment alternatives and personal relationships for people with mental and developmental disabilities.

“Whether it’s finding employment for people with developmental disabilities, housing for them, friendship and inclusion, and leadership training,” said Kennedy Shriver. “We have to stay there every day, so the takeaway when you leave, I hope, is that you’re inspired to do more.”

Allen and Jonathan, members of Best Buddies, mentioned that the walk is one of the many bonding experiences the group offers.

“It’s a learning experience, it’s cool,” Allen said.

“Whoever’s involved, any of the buddies, it gives them a new sense of perspective,” Jonathan mentioned. “You realize what’s really important.”

When asked to call his favorite part of his Best Buddies membership, Allen replied, “Friendship.”

WSVN and the Ansin family are proud companions of the Best Buddies program in South Florida and Boston.

“It’s wonderful to see all the pals again, and the spirit is contagious,” said James Ansin, co-president and chief executive officer of Sunbeam Television Corporation.

“I’m incredibly inspired by all the passion for best friends and I’ve met a lot of best friends who are so grateful for all the opportunities they’ve had,” said Stephanie Ansin, Ed Ansin’s daughter.

This year’s march is even more special because it is named after broadcast pioneer Ed Ansin, late owner and co-founder of WSVN.

He was a staunch philanthropist who dedicated himself and gave much of his time to Best Buddies and different organizations serving South Florida.

“He walked in Miami and Boston, so it was good to commemorate the name of this event,” said James Ansin.

“He really believed in giving people opportunities. He received so much — from his family, his education and his safety in the world — and it was very important for him to give back,” said Stephanie Ansin.

“Doing this in his honor, I think, couldn’t be a better bond for the Ansin family, the foundation and the broadcaster,” said Paul Magnes, co-chairman and chief executive officer of Sunbeam Television Corporation.

Ed Ansin left behind a lasting legacy in South Florida that ensures everyone is included in the band.

Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be disclosed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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