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Join the Winning Team: Dolphins Challenge Cancer 2024

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The football season is coming to an end. But for Dolphins Challenge Cancer (DCC) Executive Director Javier Sanchez and his team, the pace is only picking up.

DCC is the Miami Dolphins’ year-round cancer initiative that culminates in their signature event, a fundraising ride, run and walk in support of innovative cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.

This year’s event, DCC XIV, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 24, at Hard Rock Stadium.

“The DCC looks to engage the South Florida community through an array of initiatives year-round in the fight against a disease that impacts us all,” said Sanchez. “Although our achievements are highlighted at our annual event, the impact we have in support of cancer research would not be possible without the collective effort of all of our participants throughout the year.”

A $75 Million Pledge

Since its inception in 2010, 100% of DCC’s participant-raised funds have gone to support Sylvester’s efforts to advance cancer care through innovative science, leading-edge technology and personalized patient care. To date, DCC has raised more than $64 million of its $75 million pledge, the largest known philanthropic pledge in the National Football League (NFL).

Dolphins Challenge Cancer Executive Director Javier Sanchez (left) and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Dr. Stephen Nimer.

Most of that has been raised since Sanchez joined DCC in 2018, initially serving as director of development and partnerships for DCC before assuming the role of executive director in 2021.

“Doubling in participants and fundraising over the past five years is a testament to our team of dedicated board members, Miami Dolphins leadership, and a great partnership with (Sylvester Director) Dr. Nimer and his team at Sylvester,” said Sanchez. “This past year, DCC XIII, was a milestone because we surpassed $10 million, which has been a longtime goal of the organization.”

With more than 20 years of experience and expertise in endurance sports and philanthropic fundraising, Sanchez says DCC is the culmination of two of his life passions.

“I enjoy the fact that this event challenges people to get out of their comfort zone and do powerful things. At the same time, it has a huge impact on cancer care in our community where every dollar raised through DCC goes to support research at Sylvester,” said Sanchez.

One Team, One Fight

“The DCC began 14 years ago with one goal in mind: to unite the community against one of the most insidious diseases of our generation,” said Miami Dolphins Vice Chairman, President and CEO Tom Garfinkel. “Today, the DCC is a year-round movement focused on the challenge the cancer community faces every day, reminding us that you don’t have to have cancer to fight cancer.”

That sentiment, which is at the root of DCC’s “one team, one fight” motto, drove more than 5,600 participants, including 300 cancer survivors, to raise more than $10.5 million at last year’s event. Sanchez believes DCC XIV could easily surpass those record-setting figures.

Ride Distances and Dolphins Hall of Famers

That’s partially because DCC XIV will feature new biking distances reflecting the jersey numbers of former Miami Dolphins players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Participants can choose between a 13-mile Dan Marino ride, a 39-mile Larry Csonka ride, a 54-mile Zach Thomas ride and a 99-mile Jason Taylor ride.

Having completed the 100-mile ride in the past, Sanchez can attest to the power behind this massive fundraising project.

“We always emphasize that DCC is a ride, not a race. The experience is about bringing people together, not competition,” explained Sanchez. “We are all about building a cooperative and collaborative event with everyone joining together to support Sylvester. We are all one team in the fight against cancer.” 

Ride for a Cure

Sylvester Director Stephen Nimer, M.D., has also participated in the 100-mile bike ride. He’ll ride again this year while serving as captain of Team Hurricanes Sylvester.

“We could not ask for a better teammate than the Miami Dolphins. Their dedication to supporting cancer research at Sylvester is unparalleled,” said Dr. Nimer, also the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and executive dean of research at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “Year after year, the funds that are raised by the DCC allow Sylvester to recruit and retain some of the world’s best minds in cancer research and provide them with the resources needed to make innovative discoveries and establish life-saving treatments, bringing us one step closer to a world without cancer.”

Register for DCC

Registration is open for DCC XIV, which consists of a 5K walk/run, four biking events and a community celebration.

Tags: DCC, Dolphins Challenge Cancer, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center