In addition to helping the fight against cancer, the former Dolphins All-Pro safety will be riding for his former teammate and longtime friend Jim Mandich, whose own battle with cancer was a driving force behind the creation of the event.
“What a special person he was and what he meant to this community,” Anderson said in an interview with The Finsiders, “from a business standpoint, as a football player and as a radio personality.”
Mandich passed away from cancer in 2011, but he most certainly has not been forgotten.
Mandich and Anderson were teammates on the Dolphins’ Super Bowl-winning teams of the 1970s before Mandich went on to become, among other things, a radio talk show and the color analyst on Dolphins radio broadcasts.
“Later in my career and Jim’s career as well, we were roommates on the road for the last three years with the Dolphins,” Anderson said. “Jim was a very bright, hard-working individual and as we got later on in our careers we’d spend more time talking about what business we were going to be in than we were talking about football. People just don’t realize how many different things Jim did in the business world. He was all over the place.”
The CEO of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge is Michael Mandich, one of Jim’s three sons.
Anderson has taken part in the event every year, although he has opted for shorter bike rides in recent years. On Saturday, Anderson will take part in the 35-mile ride starting from the BankUnited Center at 9 a.m.
“When we started the bike race, Jim was still alive and he led the group around the stadium before we went out in the streets,” Anderson recalled. “I’ve fortunately been able to do the ride every year. I still get on a bicycle; that’s one of the ways I exercise and try to keep healthy at this point in my life. It’s just a marvelous ride. You just get on the bike with a lot of people in there and you can raise a lot of money for charity.”
Like everyone who’s been around the DCC, Anderson has seen the event keep growing every year.
“The fact that people hear about it and they participate and they get their friends to participate, it’s grown every year,” Anderson said. “The Dolphins fund the entire expense of this ride, so all of the money goes to cancer research, which shows how involved the Dolphins are in this community and what benefits they give as an organization.
“Everybody that rides raises money for the charity, so the more people that we get to participate in the ride, the more money we’re going to raise for cancer research. I saw Jim right up to the end of his life and he made a comment to (Dolphins Hall of Famer) Nick Buoniconti and I a couple of days before he passed and he said, ‘Well, I lived a year long than they told me I would.’ That was the kind of attitude he had.”
DCC VI will feature six different bike rides at different starting times and locations: 100 miles from the Dolphins’ stadium at 6:30 a.m.; 72 miles from CityPlace in West Palm Beach at 6:30 a.m.; 46 miles starting in Mizner Park in Boca Raton at 8 a.m.; 35 miles starting at the BankUnited Center at 9 a.m.; 26 miles from Esplanade Park in Fort Lauderdale at 11 a.m.; and 13 miles from the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University at noon.
The 5K Run/Walk, back for a second year, will start at the Dolphins’ stadium at 11 a.m., and the DCC VI festivities will be capped by a Concert Celebration featuring Grammy Award winners and cancer survivors Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge.
A kickoff party for participants will take place Friday at the Dolphins’ stadium from 5-8 p.m. Dolphins President/CEO Tom Garfinkel, Special Advisor to the President/CEO Dan Marino and alumni and players are among those expected to be on hand for the kickoff party.
The Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) was founded in 2010 by the Miami Dolphins organization as the signature initiative of the Foundation’s health pillar.
The DCC’s mission is to improve people’s lives through financial support for innovative cancer research at South Florida’s only academic-based cancer center — Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami.
Since its inception, the DCC has raised more than $11.55 million, donating 100 percent of participant-raised funds to Sylvester. More than $3 already has been raised this year.
For additional information, call (305) 943-6799 or visit www. DolphinsCancerChallenge.com. DCC can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/RideDCC and on Twitter at @TackleCancer.