It’s going to take time before final figures on the seventh annual Dolphins Cancer Challenge come in, but early indications are it should be the most successful in event history, with a record turnout of more than 4,000 participants.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was among those who biked, ran or walked in the club’s largest annual charity event, with all the proceeds going to the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Given the connection to UM, Hurricanes who participated included football coach Mark Richt and players including Mark Walton and Malek Young. Members of the Dolphins organization who participated included Mike Tannenbaum, who heads football operations, coach Adam Gase and past and present players including Dan Marino, Ryan Tannehill, Mark Duper, Nat Moore, Dick Anderson and Kim Bokamper.
The event concluded with a concert at Hard Rock Stadium by Counting Crows that attracted more than 5,000.
“We’re trying to grow it and make it bigger,” said Tom Garfinkel, the Dolphins’ president and CEO who did the 35-mile ride with his 13-year-old son. “You don’t have to have cancer to fight cancer and we want everybody to be a cancer fighter because it’ll affect all of us at some point. That’s really the message.”
Cornerback Byron Maxwell and long snapper John Denney took photos with participants at the kickoff party Friday night. Like many, the event was personal to Maxwell, who lost his childhood best friend, who was 14, to cancer.
“It’s hard when you’re younger like that and somebody you love gets taken away from you,” Maxwell said. “It definitely hits home. You learn the research is very important. Anything to help the cause.”
Jennifer Jehn, executive director of the DCC, said she was “proud” at the turnout, which surpassed the roughly 3,300 attending last year.
“Today was a reflection of the Dolphins’ commitment to being a community steward,” Jehn said. “It is a pillar of our organization and with the community’s support — we’re making a difference.”
The DCC continues with its second annual DCC Celebrity Golf Tournament on April 21 at Turnberry Isle. For more information, including ways to contribute, visit the DCC site.
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