Miami Dolphins launch inaugural celebrity golf tournament as continuation of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge
The Dolphins Cancer Challenge is known around NFL circles and even the entire country as one of the biggest fundraisers in support of cancer research around. On Monday morning, the Miami Dolphins launched their inaugural celebrity golf tournament to extend the DCC's reach to another market.
Those in attendance included Dolphins President/CEO Tom Garfinkel, current players Mike Pouncey, Reshad Jones and Koa Misi, as well as alumni Dan Marino, Nat Moore, Kim Bokamper, Dick Anderson, Mark Duper, Dwight Stephenson and Troy Drayton.
Over 120 golfers gathered at Turnberry Isle Miami Resort to raise money for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami, adding to the already impressive amount of money that had been raised by the main event six weeks ago.
“We’re really focusing just on the fighting of cancer, whether that means cycling, whether that means doing the 5K, attending the concert that we had with Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge or coming out here to this golf tournament,” said Dolphins President/CEO Tom Garfinkel. “It’s really all about raising money for Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami to fight cancer and helping make it a national cancer institute (NCI) designated facility.
"We’re still adding up the totals, but we’ll be over $5 million raised this year that we can give to Sylvester Cancer Center, which everyone is very proud of and we just want to keep growing that more and more so we can help fight cancer.”
For some who participated on Monday morning, there's a more personal reason for being there. One such individual is Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi, who last October hosted his own event called the "Pink Tie Bash" to raise awareness for breast cancer.
"Anything that has to do with cancer is something big for me," said Misi, "My grandmother has breast cancer. Well, not anymore. She beat it and it went to her spine. So this is something I feel comfortable with and I like to help out. I haven’t golfed in a while, so we’ll see how I do today,”
Unfortunately for Misi, he didn't win the tournament, which included contests for longest drive and closest to the hole, among others. Instead it was Tom Garfinkel who won the closest to the pin contest, and Mary Rosenberg and Joe Leoni won the longest drive contest.
Mike Pouncey brought his twin brother Maurkice (who plays center for the Pittsburgh Steelers) with him to the event, and the two of them also made an appearance at a Jason Taylor Foundation golf tournament recently as well.
“He’s been taking lessons this whole offseason, so he might come out here and beat me today,” Mike joked before the golfers teed off. “We’ll see how it goes.
“No one in (our) family has dealt with (cancer), but I’ve had close friends that have dealt with it. It’s a terrible disease and sometimes it’s hard to beat. Anytime you come out here and give back for a good cause, we’re just excited to be here. But it’s a tough disease and I feel for anyone that has it.”
The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is the sole beneficiary of the entirety of the event, and according to Dr. Jerry Goodwin, head and neck surgeon and Sylvester's chief medical officer, the funds have led to amazing breakthroughs in battling against the deadly disease.
"It's just amazing what's happening today in cancer research," said Dr. Goodwin, "It used to be we'd go to our meetings year after year and not much has changed. This year, it's a whole new game. The latest stuff that is really making a big difference is immunotherapy. Finally after many years of trying we're able to get the body's defense system to fight cancer and it's really extraordinary."
$11.5 million has been raised over the course of the six years DCC has existed, and with this year alone raising over $5 million dollars, there's no telling what the future holds for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge. One thing is certain though, families who have been touched by cancer will no doubt be benefiting as a result of these efforts, and now with the golf tournament being added to the main event, it's sure to get even better.
“When we look at it, now we have kind of a year-round approach." said CEO of the DCC, Michael Mandich. "DCC will take place and have events throughout the year. We used to have almost like a Super Bowl and then it was, OK, we’ll see you next Super Bowl. Well, now we have a whole menu of different events throughout the year, including this. This will be a big part of the future of the DCC.”
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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