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Best Buddies Fundraiser this Saturday, Sept. 7

Best Buddies is an international organization that promotes friendships with and jobs for people with intellectual disabilities. One of these people is Chantilly’s Eric Latcheran, 26, who, besides having Down Syndrome, has a job, friends and a love of giving back to his community.

On Oct. 19, he and his mom, Gina Latcheran, are taking the Best Buddies D.C. Challenge for the fourth year in a row, walking on the Mall in Washington, D.C. First, though, they must make a combined $1,700 donation so they can be in this event.

Toward that end, Best Buddies is having a fundraiser, this Saturday, Sept. 7, from noon-4 p.m., at Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern, 697 Spring St., in Herndon, off the W&O Trail. It’ll be held after that morning’s training-trail bike ride and walk/run. There’ll be live music by local musicians, plus lots of food and fun. Donations are welcome and attendees may vie for more than $500 in raffle prizes donated by local merchants.

“Eric personally requested and collected all the raffle prizes,” said Gina Latcheran. “But for us to reach our goal, we need the community’s help,” We want to promote friendship among our friends, family and community and raise the funds we need to participate.”

Clifton’s Mary Jane Gutkowski and son Ryan, who also has Down Syndrome, are teaming up for the walk/run, too. And Centreville’s Kevin Whalen is taking the Challenge again and will ride his bike, Oct. 19, in the cycling part of the event, traveling to Morven Park in Leesburg.

Besides the Sept. 7 fundraiser, three others are also planned — and during each of them, a portion of customer sales will be donated to Best Buddies. These events are set for:

  • Sunday evening, Sept. 15, at Piero’s Corner restaurant, 9959 Main St. in Fairfax. (Eric Latcheran has worked at Piero’s Corner the past eight years).
  • Wednesday, Sept. 18, all day, at Sweet Frog in the Greenbriar Shopping Center in Chantilly, next to Dunkin Donuts.
  • Friday evening, Sept. 27, at Glory Days Grill in the Old Centreville Crossing shopping center. Whalen, Eric Latcheran and Ryan Gutkowski will all be guest bartenders.

In addition, those wishing to contribute online to the Latcherans’ fundraising efforts may do so at On Oct. 19, he and his mom, Gina Latcheran, are taking the Best Buddies D.C. Challenge for the fourth year in a row, walking on the Mall in Washington, D.C. First, though, they must make a combined $1,700 donation so they can be in this event.

Toward that end, Best Buddies is having a fundraiser, this Saturday, Sept. 7, from noon-4 p.m., at Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern, 697 Spring St., in Herndon, off the W&O Trail. It’ll be held after that morning’s training-trail bike ride and walk/run. There’ll be live music by local musicians, plus lots of food and fun. Donations are welcome and attendees may vie for more than $500 in raffle prizes donated by local merchants.

“Eric personally requested and collected all the raffle prizes,” said Gina Latcheran. “But for us to reach our goal, we need the community’s help,” We want to promote friendship among our friends, family and community and raise the funds we need to participate.”

Clifton’s Mary Jane Gutkowski and son Ryan, who also has Down Syndrome, are teaming up for the walk/run, too. And Centreville’s Kevin Whalen is taking the Challenge again and will ride his bike, Oct. 19, in the cycling part of the event, traveling to Morven Park in Leesburg.

Besides the Sept. 7 fundraiser, three others are also planned — and during each of them, a portion of customer sales will be donated to Best Buddies. These events are set for:

  • Sunday evening, Sept. 15, at Piero’s Corner restaurant, 9959 Main St. in Fairfax. (Eric Latcheran has worked at Piero’s Corner the past eight years).
  • Wednesday, Sept. 18, all day, at Sweet Frog in the Greenbriar Shopping Center in Chantilly, next to Dunkin Donuts.
  • Friday evening, Sept. 27, at Glory Days Grill in the Old Centreville Crossing shopping center. Whalen, Eric Latcheran and Ryan Gutkowski will all be guest bartenders.

In addition, those wishing to contribute online to the Latcherans’ fundraising efforts may do so at http://mydc.bestbuddieschallenge.org/ginalatcheran