BOSTON (CBS) – It’s always great to see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throwing a football, and it gets even better when he’s doing it for charity.

Brady kicked off the 14th Annual Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port Friday evening at Harvard Stadium, with the Tom Brady Football Challenge, tossing passes to some of his new friends.

“Best Buddies is an amazing organization with a strong message to share, and I’m honored to once again take part in the Challenge,” Brady said in a release prior to the event. “I hope my role as Honorary Co-Chair will continue to bring attention to its important mission of friendship and inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities all across the world.”

More than 1,500 people are expected to participate in the Challenge this weekend – which includes a charity walk, run and ride to benefit Best Buddies International on Saturday. Brady, a Best Buddies Global Ambassador, will once again serve as Honorary Co-Chair and lead Team Tom Brady to the finish line in Saturday’s bike ride.

This year, for the first time, Congressman Joe Kennedy III will join Brady as the event’s Honorary Co-Chair.

Both of Friday’s Tom Brady Football Challenge and the Guy Fieri Celebrity Chef Tailgate — which had Best Buddies participants, serving as the celebrity chef’s  sous-chefs — were dedicated to those individuals most affected by the Boston Marathon Bombings on April 15. Best Buddies invited four individuals affected by the tragedy to play alongside Brady and Best Buddies program participants and supporters as special guests in the game.

“Boston Strong” signage was on full display throughout the game as a symbol of Best Buddies’ support for the city of Boston, and at halftime 15 individuals who ran in, but did not complete, this year’s Boston Marathon took a ceremonial lap around the field. Each were greeted at the finish line by Brady and Best Buddies participants — who presented them with a medal.

The event continues on Saturday when hundreds of cyclists will take the starting line at Boston’s John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum for the 100-mile ride portion of the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, from Boston to Hyannis Port.

Many celebrities and Patriots, including head coach Bill Belichick have been invited to compete in “Friendship Races” on tandem bicycles.

The Challenge will be capped off by a New England-style clambake and private concert by Dennis DeYoung – the music of Styx, which all participants and special guests are invited to attend.

Best Buddies International is a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

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