The 2nd Dolphins Cycling Challenge Doubles Ridership To Raise Money for Sylvester

$1 Million Goal in Sight

More than 860 cyclists, including over 160 children and 21 cancer survivors, rode various events across three counties to take part in the 2nd Annual Dolphins Cycling Challenge (DCC) on November 5th and 6th to raise money for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The two-day event featured a kids’ ride and six different routes from 30 to 170 miles that went through 37 cities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Even before the sun rose over Sun Life Stadium, hundreds of cyclists – young, old, experienced and novice – gathered to ride Saturday morning, in support of Sylvester. Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School, thanked the Miami Dolphins for their support and the riders for their dedication to “making cancer a thing of the past.” Stuart Miller, UM Trustee, who rode all 170 miles with Dean Goldschmidt, also thanked the crowd and echoed the DCC catchphrase, that they were “tackling cancer one mile at a time.” Miller’s Team Lennar has raised more than $200,000 to date.

This year’s ride was dedicated to former Miami Dolphins legend Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich, who lost his fight against bile duct cancer this year. Along with a tribute to Mandich at the start of the ride, the first water stop was dedicated to him and will be in future years, bearing the name of 88 Mad Dog Lane. UM President Donna E. Shalala was up bright and early cheering on cyclists at the Mad Dog water stop.

At the start of Sunday’s ride from City Place in West Palm Beach, Jim’s son, Michael Mandich, told riders he would be thinking of his dad as he rode and encouraged everyone else to take a moment to think about who they were riding for.

All of the rider-generated fundraising goes directly to cancer research and patient support services at Sylvester, making it a uniquely South Florida event that is poised to become a tradition. “This has been an amazing two days,” said W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., chief medical officer of Sylvester/UMHC – University of Miami Hospital & Clinics. “To see this level of commitment and support for Sylvester is inspiring us to work harder to find more effective therapies.”

Last year’s inaugural ride had 311 adult riders, 100 kids and raised $533,000. This year, the goal of raising $1 million is in sight with three weeks remaining before fundraising closes in early December.

“The Dolphins Cycling Challenge made an even larger impact in its second year, and is a tribute to the dedication of our riders, volunteers, donors and sponsors,” said Mike Dee, Dolphins CEO. “We’re proud that 100 percent of the net proceeds will stay right here in South Florida and help Sylvester provide world-class cancer research and treatment in our community.”

Team Sylvester, led by Goodwin and Mark Stoutenberg, Ph.D., research assistant professor of epidemiology and public health, fielded 90 members and raised more than $130,000 already, with more to come. On the first day of the race, Sylvester hosted the AMGEN Breakaway Mile, a ceremonial procession of lung cancer patients and their doctors, including Jorge Gomez, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and co-leader of the Lung Cancer Site Disease Group, who escorted the cyclists in front of the cancer center as a crowd of supporters cheered them on.

On Sunday, as the cyclists rolled into Sun Life Stadium, more than 500 cancer survivors and their families celebrated Survivors’ Day on the field. All the survivors signed a large banner that will be presented to the Miami Dolphins to hang in the stadium. Joan Scheiner, chair of Sylvester’s Board of Governors and a sarcoma survivor herself, recognized all who were there celebrating life and survivorship. In addition to the food, drinks, and music, there was an overwhelming sense that everyone had come together for a wonderful cause.

“I was blown away by the amazing support that the DCC has received from the community,” said Bonnie Mandich, Jim’s wife. “To know that a generous check of more than $900,000 will be donated to Sylvester made all of the effort really worthwhile. Cancer unfortunately touches everyone. When it does, it is important to have a world-class cancer facility in your hometown. That’s what these funds are dedicated to and, at the end of the day, great resources will be raised to find a cure for cancer. I know Jim is smiling down proudly on all of the riders and probably saying, ‘ALLLLRIIIGHT MIAMI.’”

For more information on the Dolphins Cycling Challenge, or to make a donation, please visit Donations are being taken until December 1, and all the cyclists will be recognized during halftime at the Miami Dolphins-Oakland Raiders game December 4.

To view photos from the 2011 DCC, click here, and to see a recap video, go to the Ride DCC website.

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