Thomas will address the participants at the Dolphins’ stadium before the start of the 5K and he figures his message will be simple.
“Just going to speak from the heart,” Thomas said during an interview on The Finsiders. “Obviously, everybody knows why they’re there. All are there for the same cause, for one purpose, and that’s to help fight cancer. Not necessarily raise awareness, but raise the funds. Just give back.
“Just reiterate why we’re all there, thank everyone for being a part of it and, you know what, (speak) from the heart from my experience what cancer has been to me and I’m pretty sure all the people that are there are going to be able to relate in some ways, some form and just congratulate everybody for taking part in it.”
Like so many, Thomas has been affected by cancer. His older sister is a cancer survivor, he has lost aunts and uncles to the diseases, and his wife has lost aunts to cancer.
Thomas is among the most active Dolphins players when it comes to community events and giving back, so taking part in the Dolphins Cancer Challenge was a natural fit for him.
“Everybody has been affected in one way or another,” Thomas said. “Like many other families that are our fans out there who you can relate to, it’s definitely a fight that we’re all fighting against. Everybody who’s supporting, they’re supporting a great cause.”
Thomas’ involvement in the fight against cancer goes beyond the DCC. He’s also among the 50 players part of the NFLPA “One Team for the Cure” initiative, which involves selling T-shirts to raise funds for cancer research.
The shirts, which feature the slogan on the front and the players’ names and numbers on the back, are sold online at http://shop.nflpa.com/One_Team_For_The_Cure.
“It’s just another way of obviously raising awareness,” Thomas said. “Many people are aware of cancer, but just trying to get more people involved in giving back and trying to support the research that’s being conducted out there to try to find a cure for it. Just by us sporting those shirts and getting other people to purchase those shirts, all those proceeds go toward finding a cure. That’s what those shirts are about.
“I’ve done work with the NFL, I’ve done work with St. Jude Chidlren’s Hospital. Definitely I always try to give back when it comes to cancer because it’s affected my family personally and I know many fans out there can relate to it, too.”
What’s at hand now, though, is the Dolphins Cancer Challenge.
Approximately 1,200 people are expected to take part in the 5K Walk/Run.
“I’m so excited,” Thomas said. “It’s huge. We’re all cancer fighters. Nobody is immune to it, so for me to be involved just to try to show support for the fight against cancer, just try to show inspiration, it’s huge.”
All told, more than 3,200 participants are expected Saturday for the sixth edition of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, previously known as the Dolphins Cycling Challenge.
DCC VI will feature several 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 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.
In part inspired by Dolphins alumnus and long-time radio voice Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich’s courageous battle with cancer, 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. Almost $3 million 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.