Good News:Dolphins Alumni Join Forces to Support Dolphins Challenge

Thousands of participants convened at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 24th to celebrate and take part in the 14th edition of the Dolphins Challenge Cancer fundraiser.

Along with the 5k walk/run, this year’s edition featured new ride distances – a 13-mile Dan Marino ride, 39-mile Larry Csonka ride, 54-mile Zach Thomas ride and 99-mile Jason Taylor ride – named in honor of Miami Dolphins players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Thomas was back at Hard Rock Stadium Saturday to participate in what has become the largest known philanthropic pledge in the NFL.

“It makes you proud to be with all these survivors, all these fighters,” he said. “I was here the first year in 2010 with Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mandich. To see how much the DCC has grown, it’s a huge event. Then they name a ride after your number, it’s awesome. It’s a huge honor.”

After drawing a record number of participants last year, the DCC has raised over $64 million for Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in the first 13 years of the event and will see that number climb again once all donations have come in for DCC XIV.

One current Dolphins player who has taken an important role in helping to continue the success of the DCC is linebacker Jaelan Phillips.

“The South Florida community has embraced me so much since I’ve come down here and I feel like I’d be remiss if I don’t do everything I can with the platform that I have to give back to the community,” Phillips said.

During the 2021 season, Phillips became the first rookie in franchise history to win the team’s Nat Moore Community Service Award. Three years later, he now serves as a DCC Board Member and a vocal ambassador for the event.

“I just kind of felt a kinship with DCC in the sense that I’ve had a lot of people affected by cancer, both family members and loved ones,” Phillips said. “It’s such an important cause, with what we do out here, what Sylvester does, raising funds for cancer research. I just feel really grateful and honored to

Linebacker David Long Jr. was also among the 15 Dolphins players on-site Saturday and completed the 54-mile ride. Along the way, he got the chance to bond with his current teammates as well as Thomas.

“We were riding together for a while, Long said of the opportunity to connect with his Hall-of-Fame position-mate. “We talked about ball, talked about life, biking. He’s already a biker so it was cool.”

But Long wasn’t just there because he loves to compete. He was also riding in honor of his aunt, Corrie Gooden-Long, who passed away from pancreatic cancer the day he graduated high school in 2015.

“I’m very big on family and she was probably one of my closest family relatives,” he said. “I did it for her and for many others like her with similar stories.”

Like Long, tight end Julian Hill also appreciated the impact the DCC has and completed the 5k in support for a cause that has affected so many people.

“It’s an amazing thing,” Hill said. “It was an honor to participate. At the end of the day, when you realize that it’s bigger than football and it’s bigger than what we do on a daily basis on that field, that’s when you realize the impact that you have on people and also the impact they have on us to keep going, to keep using our platform for good.”

The DCC’s purpose is to improve people’s lives through financial support for innovative cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer, part of the University of Miami Health System. One-hundred percent of participant-raised funds go directly to Sylvester to fund life-saving research. In November 2020, Miami Dolphins leadership made a commitment to raise $75 million for cancer research through the DCC in what is the largest-known philanthropic pledge in sports.

Donations are still being accepted for DCC XIV through March 14. You can make a donation today at

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