Miami Dolphins Visit Families at alex’s place

Patients, their families and staff of alex’s place — Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s pediatric oncology clinic — received a special treat Monday morning. Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Brandon Gibson and Tackle Jason Fox, along with Miami Dolphins Women’s Organization member Diane Philbin, paid a surprise visit in recognition of the Dolphins Cycling Challenge (DCC) and the organization’s commitment to funding cancer research in South Florida.

“All the money that DCC raises goes straight to Sylvester,” said Edward D. Ziga, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics. “This money is very key for us because it goes to support the research that’s needed to find better therapies to fight cancer. So, we count on the Dolphins Cycling Challenge for support, and we’re grateful for it. It’s great to see the Miami Dolphins here with these children because they get excited when they see the players.”

Christie Laporte, 19, a patient at alex’s place who recently had surgery, said, “It’s always great to meet a player. The Dolphins are a big part of our Sundays. Getting autographs and taking pictures was my favorite part, and it’s really nice to see players getting involved in the community, especially with our kids. I know I’m a big kid, but yeah, this was great.”

The children were greeted by the players as well as Mrs. Philbin, and each received a T-shirt, coloring sheets and a Dolphins Cycling Challenge goodie bag that included foam footballs, pencils, stickers and Miami Dolphins stuffed animals.

Kaled Richani, father of 4-year-old patient Salma Richani was grateful for the gifts and the team’s time. “For us, this is perfect when people support the kids,” he said. “Salma is a happy girl, but this added to her happiness.”

The visit was a sort of homecoming for Fox, who played for the University of Miami. “The program with these kids and with the DCC is so good for this community and the people affected with different types of cancer,” he said. “For me to spend some time with these kids and see the smiles on their faces, it is such a great feeling to come back and do that.”

The DCC is dedicated to improving people’s lives through the financial support of innovative cancer research at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The event includes bike routes in Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and a 5k run/walk, with 100 percent of participant-raised funds going directly to Sylvester. Founded by the Miami Dolphins in 2010, the DCC has already raised $7 million. DCC V will be held in just two months, February 7-8, 2015.

“This is a five-year, great partnership between the Dolphins and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center,” said Richard Ballard, CEO and Hospital Administrator of Sylvester and University of Miami Hospital & Clinics. “We’re proud that all the money raised by DCC stays local for cancer research.”

For more information or to register for the DCC, visit

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