Those who walked into the Cunard Tavern in East Boston last Thursday night were greeted by a familiar face.
Playing host and seating hungry patrons was none other than former New England Patriot star and three-time Super Bowl champion Tedy Bruschi.
No, the former Patriot inside linebacker has not found a new career working at the popular Eastie eatery.
It was all part of Bruschi’s annual party the former NFL star throws at the Cunard for ‘Tedy’s Team’ and the American Heart Association. The dinner and afterparty on Cunard’s roofdeck is to thank the Boston Marathon runners who help raise money for his team back in April.
Cunard’s Executive Chef Anthony Pino explains that he and his wife, Lauren, have both run the Boston Marathon on Tedy’s Team and two years ago were asked to host the reunion and thank you dinner for the team’s runners.
“When we were asked for the first time if we could handle the thank you and reunion dinner for the team we were thrilled to do it,” said Pino. “It’s a cause that’s important to me because my wife Lauren had surgery to close a hole in her heart very similar to the one which caused Tedy (Bruschi) to have a stroke.
Lauren Pino has run the Boston Marathon three times for Tedy’s Team while Chef Pino has run the Marathon once for the team.
Pino said one of the best parts of the evening is when Bruschi took over duties at the host stand for a bit to surprise some customers walking in for dinner.
Tedy’s Team has raised over $500,000 for the American Heart Association’s American Stroke Association during the last Marathon.
Bruschi suffered a stroke in February 2005 at the age of 31, just weeks after winning his third Super Bowl with the Patriots and days after returning from playing in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. It was later found Bruschi suffered from a patent foramen ovale, a congenital heart defect that leaves a small hole in the wall separating the left and right atria of the heart. Bruschi experienced partial paralysis and was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital. After several months of rehabilitation working with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Bruschi announced he would sit out the 2005 NFL season. However, on October 16, 2005, eight months after his stroke, the Patriots announced that Bruschi had been medically cleared and he played his first game of the 2005 season against the Buffalo Bills two weeks later.
As he recovered Bruschi committed himself to being an advocate, spokesperson, and inspiration for stroke survivors in our area.
Bruschi asked the American Stroke Association to work with him to create “Tedy’s Team,” a group of runners raising money for the American Stroke Association and training to complete the Boston Marathon and the Falmouth Road Race. Their participation supports Bruschi’s fight against stroke and honors both the survivors and the loved ones lost to America’s fifth leading cause of death.
In addition to the money being raised, an equally important issue for Tedy’s Team is to increase the awareness of stroke and recognition of its warning signs. Tedy’s Team is striving to reach as many people as possible in its message of recognizing the warning signs and acting appropriate when seeing them — calling 9-1-1 immediately.
Bruschi and his wife, Heidi, started the team with just eight runners in 2005 and since then the team has grown to almost 1,000 runners and has raised over $3 million for stroke prevention, research and education.
Former New England Patriot star Tedy Bruschi plays host at the Cunard Tavern last week. Bruschi threw a thank you party for runners that participated in the Boston Marathon for Tedy’s Team.
Tedy Bruschi and Tedy’s Team enjoy the roof deck at the Cunard Tavern. The team raised more than $500,000 for the American Stroke Association.
Tedy Bruschi helps serve some food during the party at the Cunard Tavern.
Tedy Bruschi with Cunard Tavern Executive Chef Anthony Pino and his wife, Lauren. Anthony and Lauren Pino both ran for Tedy’s Team during the Boston Marathon.
Tedy Bruschi enjoys one of the Cunard Tavern’s award winning burgers.