Dolphins Challenge Cancer rides to major victory over weekend

The 2024 NFL offseason is underway, yet, over the weekend at Hard Rock Stadium, One Team came together for One Fight, which is more important than what you can find on a scoreboard or boxscore.

Dolphins Challenge Cancer held its 14th annual event on Saturday, and it was a massive hit. The DCC stands as the largest fundraising event in the NFL and represents the largest known philanthropic pledge in all professional sports.

The #OneTeamOneFight mentality has the Miami Dolphins partnered with the University of Miami and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as thousands of participants and donors.

Thanks to the outstanding efforts by the Dolphins organization, the DCC, as well as countless fans who helped this cause with their fundraising and awareness efforts. Most notably for many, superfan Lisa Siegel. 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 Peritoneal Cancer. Siegel lost her mother just 17 days after she was admitted to the hospital. She is one of the many “Heavy-Hitter” fundraisers, and she alone was responsible for raising over $26,000 for this year from 530 donations, in part of the $12 million total that was raised this DCC to combat cancer.

Whether it was riding a bike, running, or walking to support this cause, the Miami Dolphins family was in full force, with ownership, current and former players, and, of course, a Hall of Famer or two.

Sending the bikers off on the 54-mile ride was none other than number 54 himself, Zach Thomas. Miami’s latest enshrine to Canton, as well as fellow immortals Dan Marino, Larry Csonka and Jason Taylor, all had their respective numbers match certain legs of the rides, those being 13 miles, 39 miles and 99 miles.

To no surprise, Thomas was dressed, ready to ride and among the best finishers. He even had time to mess around with unrestricted free-agent defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. Following the rides, Thomas and Wilkins laughed it up, as participants had a chance to relax after their rides and mingle with Dolphins past and present.

Of course, the metaphorical elephant in the room is what will happen with Wilkins contractually. While that is a conversation for another piece, seeing Wilkins participate was not just encouraging for his potential return but also a testament to the quality person he is.

The same can be said about former Dolphin Mack Hollins, who again participated as a bike rider, as he did last year. Recently let go defensive assistant coach and Dolphins legend Sam Madison also rode in support on Saturday. Legendary wide receiver Mark Duper returned to the event while owner Stephen Ross, president Tom Garfinkel and head coach Mike McDaniel were all on hand as well.

If you’re looking for inspiration and motivation on top of all of this dedication, look no further than Jaelan Phillips. The edge rusher who suffered a torn Achilles against the New York Jets on Black Friday in November was at the DCC, walking, talking and being the fantastic person he has proven to be.

Phillips stopped by to chat with Dolphin podcasters Seth Levit of “The Fish Tank” and Travis Wingfield of “DriveTime,” and his mere presence was a jolt of energy for Dolphin fans eagerly waiting for his return to the field.

Levit summed up the conversation, saying, “Jaelan is truly a special individual. Because of his upbringing, as well as the adversity he’s had to face with respect to overcoming some significant injuries, we’re seeing a guy with a much broader perspective than most people have at 24 years old. As a result, you’ve got a young player who is one of the most gifted and relentlessly driven athletes you will find on a football field, yet he somehow manages to bring that same energy to his work in the community. It’s uncanny, and we are all very lucky to have him representing the Miami Dolphins.”

In regards to the DCC, Levit added, “This year’s DCC was electric. Thousands of people flooded Hard Rock Stadium for one altruistic reason, and it was a beautiful sight. From the F1 starting line to the integration of the Paddock garages to seeing Dan Marino, Zach Thomas, of course, my guy O.J. McDuffie, and so many others come together for a singular purpose was inspirational, to say the least. How can we not appreciate the Miami Dolphins for building the largest fundraising event in the entire National Football League?”

Through all the fundraising and awareness, the DCC could be looked at as one of sports most successful and important philanthropic events and entities. The 2024 DCC increased that overall fundraising total to over $75 million since the event began in 2010, and kudos to Executive Director Javier Sanchez and his team within a team.

In addition to Siegel, pillars of the event like past Fans of the Year, Ian Berger, Marc Angelo and Allie Goodman were present and integral in helping spread awareness and are constant supporters and advocates of the DCC and all things Dolphins philanthropy. Also in attendance was the founder of one of the top fan groups in this base, Danny Johnson of The Positive Porpoise.

Berger, who represented the Dolphins as 2020 Fan of the Year and continues to be a beacon for this fanbase, is a consistent advocate of the DCC. “Dolphins Challenge Cancer represents the best in all of us,” he said in a direct message. “Thousands of participants raising funds that could potentially help millions is an emotional and rewarding experience!”

Angelo, the 2021 Dolphins Fan of the Year, heads the NorCal DolFan Club, a proud fundraiser for DCC riding for Team Positive Porpoise. He said, “TPP is almost to $71,000 raised this year and $280,000+ in the four years supporting DCC.” The NDC has supported DCC for nine years and has been on Team TPP for the last three years, riding in the event.

Goodman, the 2022 FOTY for the Dolphins, also known as “Dolphreaky,” said, “The way this community comes together in the fight against cancer is second to none! To see people from all walks of life riding and walking amongst those who have fought and actively fight cancer is so rewarding.”

A great advocate of the team and their endeavors, Goodman added, “The Miami Dolphins did an absolutely fantastic job creating a top-notch event that was even better than in years past. The DCC continues to grow every year, and everyone should consider getting involved!”

In a sport where wins and losses on the field judge success, sometimes, the best victories come off the field. In the case of the Miami Dolphins and the DCC, 2024 was another major win.

Congratulations to the Dolphins, Sanchez, the DCC, as a whole, and all who participated.

Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire