Those who walked into the Cunard Tavern in East Boston on Sunday, March 23 were greeted by a familiar face.
Hosting a Sports Trivia Night 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 and Cunard Tavern Chef Anthony Pino’s fundraising efforts for ‘Tedy’s Team’ and the American Heart Association.
The trivia night fundraiser raised money for Boston Marathon runners that help raise money back for his team.
Cunard’s Executive Chef Anthony Pino explains that he and his wife, Lauren, have both run the Boston Marathon on Tedy’s Team and three years ago hosted a reunion and thank you dinner for the team’s runners at the Cunard.
This dinner has become an annual tradition and has spawned several fundraising efforts at the popular Eastie’s restaurant over the last few years.
“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.
Tedy’s Team has raised over $500,000 for the American Heart Association American Stroke Association during the last Marathon.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for last night,” said Pino. “First off thanks to the Bruschis for coming out to East Boston to help us raise money. Tedy (Bruschi) and Heidi have been amazing to Lauren and I over the last several years. Secondly thanks to everyone who came out to support Tedy’s Team, friends, family, other members of the team, and perfect strangers who just wanted to play trivia. Also thank you to all our amazing donors who helped us raise over $3,000 in just three hours.”
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 Oct. 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 dollars being raised, an equally important issue for Tedy’s Team is the increase in 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 raised over $3 million for stroke prevention, research and education.