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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Sept. 29, 2020) — Lucas Public Affairs’ (LPA) Donna LucasCassandra PyeNancy HeffernanJessyca SheehanMatt MahonAlly Sperbeck and Denise Reis along with family, friends and clients participated on Team Maria in this year’s “Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle” to raise awareness and support for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

While Team Maria could not come together in person this year, LPA showed its pride virtually by getting active from home in support of Best Buddies’ mission to foster inclusion, friendship and opportunity for all. Together, Team Maria helped raised $136,279 for Best Buddies and the 200 million people around the world with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“This was my second year participating in the Best Buddies Challenge, and while it was virtual, the experience was just as meaningful,” said LPA Vice President Jessyca Sheehan, who rode 30-miles along the coast with her mother while her son and family cheered along. “I rode for the Buddies and in support of building a more inclusive world for all – something that is more important now than ever.”

LPA Joins Team Maria & Best Buddies

LPA Vice President Jessyca Sheehan with her mother, Ginny Varnum, after a 30-mile bike ride along the foggy California coastline.

Team LPA Training Photos

  • Left: LPA Senior Strategist Nancy Heffernan and her partner Bryan Patrick stop to take a quick photo along the American River Parkway.
  • Center: Vice President Matt Mahon and his wife Christine bike and jog at home.
  • Right: Executive Vice President Cassandra Pye pedals from home.

Best Buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It was founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver and has grown from one original chapter to nearly 3,000 Friendship and Promoter chapters across schools worldwide. LPA President & CEO Donna Lucas has been involved with the bike ride at Hearst Castle for over 15 years.

“This is a cause near and dear to our hearts,” said LPA President & CEO Donna Lucas, who rode for the Buddies. “Together we can all make change for our friends living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”


Lucas Public Affairs is a leading California public affairs firm that specializes in developing strategic communications to meet clients’ business and policy objectives and in managing high-level reputation, issues management and crisis communications campaigns. LPA works with the state’s leading foundations, nonprofit organizations, associations, businesses and government entities to help them navigate some of the most complex and controversial issues facing California today in health care, education, civic engagement, energy, transportation, insurance, biotechnology, tourism, business and finance, among other areas. At LPA, we are problem solvers unequivocally committed to our clients’ success. Learn more at