Miami Gardens, FL – The Miami Dolphins on Wednesday, Oct. 30 hosted the Heavy Hitters Celebration presented by Berkowitz Pollack Brand and Provenance Wealth Advisors. The Dolphins Cancer Challenge Heavy Hitters comprised of a group of 288, whose fundraising efforts for the 2019 event raised $3,039,641. Their donations accounted for almost 50 percent of the DCC's total $5.2M gift to University of Miami's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Participants are considered Heavy Hitters who have raised $2,750 or more for innovative cancer research. The evening entailed a fun twist on the event with more activities and fun built in to celebrate and honor the heavy hitters. All Pros (fundraisers of $10,000 or more) and Top Tacklers (fundraisers of $5,000 or more) had the exclusive perk of catching a pass on the field from Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino or Jason Taylor.
Below are the award winners:
- Champions Award: Mike Estevez (Palmetto Bay, FL). The Champions Award is given to a participant who embodies the spirit of why the DCC was created nearly 10 years ago and supports the DCC through a multitude of different avenues. Mike Estevez participated in his fifth DCC this year and consistently raised more than $3,000 during each campaign. Estevez also participates as part of the Ride Marshal team and is committed to keeping participants safe not only during DCC weekend but throughout the year at multiple DCC Training Rides.
- Rookie Heavy Hitter of the Year: Michael Walsh (Miami, FL). This award is provided to the DCC participant who raises more money than any other first-year participant. Walsh for the event in February rode 100 miles and raised $21,000 in his first year participating in the DCC.
- Mad Dog Mandich Courage Award: Dominick Froio Jr. (Doral, FL). The Jim "Mad Dog" Mandich Courage Award goes to the Heavy Hitter who inspires, motivates and challenges those around them to strive to be better. This winner knows no limits, consistently beating expectations and does not know the definition of boundaries. Dominick Froio Jr. is an unsung hero of the DCC. Froio is a proud cancer survivor from Sylvester who has raised more than $40,000 over four years for the DCC and works tirelessly as the team captain for Team Carnival.
- Team of the Year Award: Team Mack Cycle (Miami, FL). Team Mack Cycle increased both its participation to 102 and fundraising by more than 50 percent this year totaling their DCC IX contribution to $150,000.
- Team Hurricanes Above and Beyond Award: Robert Merlin (Coconut Grove, FL). This award is given to a member of Team Hurricanes whose efforts embody what Team Hurricanes stands for and the mission of the DCC. Merlin demonstrated a high level of commitment, determination and persistence to maximize his efforts to go above and beyond, most recently riding 100 miles for DCC IX. He has raised $120,000 over the years, attaining Heavy Hitter status over the last three years.
DCC 10 is scheduled to take place Feb. 29, 2020 and will include five bike routes throughout South Florida, a run/walk 5K and a Finish Line Festival presented by Moss Construction. For more information, visit DolphinsCancerChallenge.com.