Thousands ride in 7th Dolphins Cancer Challenge

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - Thousands of people broke a sweat on the streets of South Florida as they cycled and ran for a good cause, Saturday.

Going into its seventh year, the Dolphins Cancer Challenge Ride and 5K Run brought out an estimated 4,000 participants, its largest turnout, all working to raise money for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami.

Marc Cantoni said he’s riding in memory of a family member. “A few years ago I lost a cousin to leukemia, and I really want to race for him,” he said.

There was a total of five bike routes, ranging from 14 miles to as far as 100 miles. Some participants opted for the 5K run/walk instead, and for the first time, there was a youth ride and a youth walk for teens.

Monika Austen, who suited up for Team Hurricanes, said she survived her own bout with the disease. “Seven years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I am always a University of Miami Hurricanes fan for life,” she said.

Scott Lagasse may have made his career racing for NASCAR, but he enjoys biking in his spare time, and that’s when, he said, he discovered his cancer. “I just went through a bout with cancer a little under two years ago, so to see the Dolphins do this and step up for cancer research is amazing,” he said.

For Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel, it’s a family affair — for his children and the team. “The message is, you don’t have to have cancer to fight cancer,” he said.

Former Dolphins cheerleader Carla Hill was one of many who ran the 5K. A cancer survivor, Hill has been cancer-free for a decade.

“Sylvester is known for their research and that was really important to me, because I know that they’re working on tough cases all day, every day- like mine,” Hill said.

The event was started by former Dolphins player Jim Mandich. “He started this fantastic ride that has raised over $16 million for cancer research,” said Dick Anderson, Mandich’s teammate.

All bike routes and the 5K ended at Hard Rock Stadium, where a finish line celebration concert featuring the Counting Crows took place.

The event has raised $16.5 million dollars since its beginning. It is also the largest fundraiser in the NFL.

This year’s event raised more than $4 million. One hundred percent of the proceeds go toward the the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more information, click here.

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