Dolphins Challenge Cancer event rides in February

The Miami Dolphins have a rich tradition of football success, having gone to five Super Bowls, winning two and being unbeaten during their 1972 championship run. In a sport and world where nothing is ever “perfect,” the Dolphins’ organization can refute that.

Along with the past accolades, trophies and 10 players/coaches in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Dolphins organization has always been a leader in football and sport in philanthropy.

When legendary coach Don Shula came to South Florida in 1970, he brought more than his football IQ and “12-minute run.” He brought an aspect of community and charity to Miami and football overall, as he was integral in many foundations and philanthropic efforts.

Taking a hand-off from coach Shula, even decades later, has been the Dolphins’ efforts recently in their Football Unites program, their Salute to Service initiatives and their work with the Junior Dolphins program.

However, 13 years ago, the Dolphins created one of their most impactful initiatives yet – Dolphins Challenge Cancer. The signature initiative of the Miami Dolphins Foundation since 2010, the DCC has contributed more than $53 million to cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The DCC stands as the largest fundraising event in the NFL and represents the largest known philanthropic pledge in all professional sports.

“We are incredibly grateful for the amazing partnership we have with the Miami Dolphins,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and holder of the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. “The extraordinary vision of the Dolphins organization to come alongside Sylvester and raise millions of dollars annually for impactful cancer research has allowed us to discover and provide innovative, life-saving treatments for so many in our community.”

Cancer is a plague that’s directly or indirectly affected far too many and is a topic close to home here as well as for many around the world. There’s no discrimination, age, gender or religious bias with the disease, and what the Dolphins have done is help combat this with their community.

This community has individuals who have dedicated portions of their life, if not their sole driving motivator, to help the Dolphins do their part in the hopeful eradication of this disease.

The money raised by the DCC comes from efforts within the foundation, as well as an amazing community of Dolphins fans who get on their bikes and/ or support others in their rides, to raise as much money as possible.

Players, past and present, coaches, employees of the organization and many amazing fans decked out in orange and aqua riding gear are preparing for the annual event. The DCC XIII is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, and will feature a cycling, running and walking event led by its iconic 100-mile ride.

One of the riders who has been a champion of this foundation and event is Lisa Siegel. Recently featured as one of the Faces of the DCC, Siegel has helped raise money with her avid cycling and unparalleled social media support.

Siegel has always been a die-hard Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes fan, and her ties to both organizations run in her family. Her father began working at the University of Miami in 1966, and she followed in her dad’s footsteps, as she’s worked for the university since 1989.

Her connection to the DCC deepened when her mom was diagnosed with stage IV Ovarian Cancer. Siegel lost her mother just 17 days after she was admitted to the hospital.

“Without setbacks, there are no comebacks,” she said. It has been her mission to carry on her mother’s legacy at every Dolphins Challenge Cancer, and what she’s done is inspirational and admirable and has surely made her family proud.

Siegel is proud of her participation and always wears her DCC gear to bring attention and awareness to the event.

“It’s a great conversation piece and people are constantly telling me that they love my jersey, and where did I get it,” she stated.

Siegel is one of the many who have helped grow this foundation and initiative from raising $533,106 in 2010 with 411 participants, to a massive $8,412,556 in 2022, with more than 10-fold the number of participants from its inaugural ride.

“This is a big win for everyone in the community and we are grateful to the numerous supporters of DCC 12 who came together to raise this incredible contribution. These $8.4 million will directly affect Sylvester’s efforts to thrive as a lifesaving cancer center,” Miami Dolphins Challenge Cancer Executive Director Javier Sanchez said. “Hosting another successful and record-breaking DCC is an honor for the Miami Dolphins, and we are eager to see the South Florida community for DCC XIII at Hard Rock Stadium on February 25, 2023.”

Collectively, the DCC riders have pedaled over one million miles in the journey to beat cancer.


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Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire