About The Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation

Who is Dean - NJ's Most Respected Surfer - His Fight for a Cure

“Dean “The Jersey Devil” Randazzo at age 11, cut out of a surfing magazine the address and phone # to the A.S.P. (association of surfing professionals) because, he knew that one day he would need to contact the professional tour. Born and raised in Atlantic City, N.J., He grew up surfing the East Coast. Dean began competing at age 11 and won his very first contest on a board that had more duct tape than fiberglass. In 1989 he moved to California as an amateur and then turned pro in 1990. His performance in the 1990 Cold Water Classic hailed rave revues from the likes of Derek Hynd (well known critic), comparing Dean to “an early 80’s Elkerton” and to the likes of Tom Curren (world champion at that time). More

Register for the 14th annual Surf for a Cause

Saturday, Sept. 6 at Decatur Avenue beach in Margate


The best surfers from around the area will compete in the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation’s 14th annual Surf for a Cause Saturday, Sept. 6 at Decatur Avenue beach, presented by Cape Islands Bedding and Restoration.

Registration is now open will only be conducted online this year through noon Thursday, Sept. 4. There will be no beach registration. Register here

The contest has 11 divisions and trophies and prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place in each division. Entries are $30 per division and include an event T-shirt and one ticket to the after party. Entries for additional divisions are $15 each. Entries are free for Grom Boys, 11 years and younger and Grom Girls, 12 years and younger, divisions.

Surfers are required to check-in between 7-8 a.m. the day of the event and the first heat begins at 8 a.m. The surfing will be following by an after party 4 p.m. at Ventura’s Greenhouse.

This event was the first held in 2001 to benefit Dean Randazzo, of Atlantic City, New Jersey’s most successful surfer who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the height of his career.

Randazzo told the national media at the U.S. Open of Surfing in 2001 in Huntington Beach, Calif. that he was diagnosed with cancer. Randazzo made it his mission to help others through a non-profit cancer foundation and with the help of its first president and current Trustee Adam Walcoff, the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation was established Sept. 5, 2001 and the inaugural Surf for a Cause was held 10 days later raising $20,000 and concluding with a barbecue in the backyard of Dean’s mother, Mary Lou Randazzo’s home.

Since then, the Surf for a Cause has raised more than $100,000 for cancer research and has become an informal annual reunion of friends and family and those whose lives were affected by cancer.

Click here to download information about sponsorship opportunities.


Dean Randazzo named Person of the Year by UNICO

Scholarship dinner in his honor Friday, July 18 at Resorts

Dean Randazzo

Dean Randazzo


New Jersey’s most successful professional surfer and founder of the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation, will be honored as the 2014 Person of the Year by the Greater Atlantic City Chapter of UNICO National and the Atlantic County UNICO Scholarship Foundation.

Randazzo, 45, of Atlantic City, will be honored at the 2014 Person of the Year Scholarship Dinner Friday, July 18 at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

“I feel extremely privileged to be honored by my Italian heritage,” Randazzo said. “UNICO is such an amazing organization that helped me learn about my Italian roots. I’m surprised and excited to be recognized by such an outstanding group.”

After growing up in Margate and Somers Point, Randazzo broke onto the national surfing circuit as a teenager one-year after representing Mainland Regional High School at a 1989 National Scholastic Surfing Association competition in California.

His grit and determination to make it in a world dominated by west coast surfers helped Randazzo become the first Garden State resident to qualify for the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour in 1996.

At the height of his career in 2001, Randazzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. That same year he founded the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation to assist people battling cancer and bring cancer awareness to the surfing community and held the inaugural Surf for a Cause.

Thanks to multiple bone marrow transplants from his brother Joe, Randazzo fought through four rounds of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. One year after his diagnosis, Randazzo won the Garden State Grudge Match and then went on to win the RedBull Icebreak in 2004 and was named the 2004 X Games MVP.

He represented the United States in the International Surfing Association’s World Masters Championships for three consecutive years – finishing fourth last year. Earlier this year, the 45-year-old Randazzo was inducted in the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame.

Since its inception, the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation has donated more than $450,000 to individuals battling cancer, their families and local cancer organizations. There are no paid members or employees on the board and 90 percent of what is received funds the organization’s mission.

Today, as the foundation prepares for the 14th annual Surf for a Cause, Saturday, Sept. 6 at Decatur Avenue beach in Margate, Randazzo is back on the Boardwalk where he grew up.

After moving back to Atlantic City from Oceanside, Calif. with his wife Barbara and their two sons; Dean Anthony, 7 and Chayton, 1, Randazzo and his brother Joe opened Jersey Devil Surf at Resorts Casino Hotel in July 2013. The shop stocks surfboards designed by Randazzo Industries and Jersey Devil Surf, surfing apparel and provides lessons for kids and adults.

Since its inception, the Greater Atlantic City Chapter of UNICO has distributed more than $600,000 in scholarship money to high school seniors pursuing a college education.

For tickets to the UNICO Scholarship Dinner, call 609-645-3800 by Monday, July 14.

$60,000 raised at 7th annual Paddle For a Cause

Brian Pasternak of Ocean City finishes in less than four hours

More than 50 paddlers begin the 22.5-mile 7th annual Paddle For a Cause presented by the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation (Shaun Smith).

More than 50 paddlers begin the 22.5-mile 7th annual Paddle For a Cause presented by the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation (Shaun Smith).

More than 100 paddlers helped make the 7th annual Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation Paddle For a Cause a success in raising $60,000 for cancer research Saturday, June 14.

It was a record turnout with 56 competitors in the 22.5-mile paddleboard race around Absecon Island competing for $5,000 in cash prizes presented by the Lagana Family in loving memory of Judith Lagana and Barista’s Coffee House. Top finishers in the Men’s and Women’s SUP, Men’s prone and open divisions received: $1,000 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third.

“I had so much fun this year. It was my favorite year by far,” said board Trustee Adam Walcoff of Linwood who joined the 8-mile paddle.

The 22.5-mile course was designed by event-founder Mike May in 2008 who said there were only seven participants that year for the event to raise funds to assist Dean Randazzo in his battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

“I called Dean in the hospital from the beach in Margate that year,” May said.

Randazzo thanked everyone who attended the event for their support and helping those battling cancer and their families with financial assistance.

“I have to thank the board members – without all their help, this couldn’t happen,” said Randazzo of Atlantic City.

Board President Paul Giunta of Somers Point was also among the 8-mile paddlers.

“I am blown away how the paddle community comes together for the DRCF, raising $60,000 at one event is a true testament to all our supporters,” Giunta said. “This money will be put to good use helping people financially so they can focus on healing.”

Winners in the Men’s Prone Paddleboard division are:

1. Brian Pasternak, 30, of Ocean City (03:59:22)
2. Thomas O’Neill, 24, of Malverne, N.Y. (04:10:12)
3. Dan Michaluk, 04:18:27.75

Winners in the Men’s Stand Up Paddleboard 14-foot and under division are:

1. Sven Peltonen, 37, of Brigantine (04:16:50)
2. Jason Chew, 39, of Ocean City (04:18:28)
3. Ryan Oliver, 40, of Toms River (04:19:53)

Winners in the Women’s SUP division are:

1. Kira Daugherty, 25, of Galloway (06:09:20)
2. Josetta Lata, 44, of Pine Beach, N.J. (06:26:29)

Winners in the open Paddleboard division are:

1. Pete Dodimead, 54, of Willingboro, N.J. (05:07:44)
2. William McArthur, 70, of Lewes, Del. (05:33:31)
3. Richard Sless of Linwood and his brother Steven Sless of Phoenix, Md.

Winners in the 12-foot, six-inch Stand Up Paddleboard division are:

1. Quintin Chiapperino, 17, of Frederiksted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (04:49:03)
2. Tom Forkin, 51, of Atlantic City (05:40:35)
3. Jeffrey Taylor, 64, of Hypoluxo, Fla. (06:00:00)


Tara Good of Sea Isle City, on right, presents a painting to Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation Trustee Christine Cleary of Northfield.

Tara Good of Sea Isle City, on right, presents a painting to Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation Trustee Christine Cleary of Northfield.


Two grant recipients of the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation are giving back to the 7th annual Paddle For A Cause to empower its mission to help individuals and their families who are battling cancer.

After receiving assistance from the foundation in February, Tara Good, 43, donated a painting to be auctioned at the Paddle for a Cause Saturday, June 14 in Atlantic City.

“Before Dean Randazzo came in, I didn’t know what to do,” Good said. “I was going to lose everything; from my apartment to just paying my bills. I wasn’t able to work, I was applying for insurance and applying for disability; but I was so sick that between the doctor’s appointments and paperwork, I was completely sinking at that point.”

Michael Lagana and the Lagana family of Belleplain have donated $7,500 in memory of Judith L. Lagana that will be awarded as cash prizes to the top finishers at the Paddle for a Cause this year. Lagana said foundation Past President Dan Cellucci called him and Judy with the news that they were being awarded with a grant just before Christmas in 2011, when Judith was receiving treatment for Mesothelioma in Boston. Michael said she was so shocked and in tears.  She was so elated and relieved. He said they both were.

“We never asked anyone for anything and we never needed anything from anyone, but that made a Christmas for our kids that probably wasn’t happening and it saved us and allowed us to pursue her treatments. It was monumental,” said Lagana. “I said if I ever get a chance to help and give back that’s what I wanted to do; Judy and I talked about it,” Lagana said.

Good said the foundation’s assistance allowed her to focus on her treatment, which to date has included three rounds of chemotherapy and is soon to undergo a bone marrow transfer with her sister, Martha Bowen of Millville, who was found to be a 100 percent match. The assistance has also enabled Good to spend time with her daughters, Camden, 9, and Ali, 7.

Like all Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation proceeds, funds raised from Good’s painting will benefit those fighting cancer and supporting their families.

“If it helps out the organization, I’m honored to do that,” said Good.

Lagana said he is happy to set an example for his children while keeping his wife’s memory alive in the community.

“I think it’s great, for all the people who didn’t even know her, it’s a huge event with so many people down there. Hopefully it will set an example to others as to how courageous, generous and charitable Judy was, and they will follow suit. For my boys, Zachary (20), and Samuel (15), it’s certainly about them understanding you can help back and make a difference, as they know very well that their mother would approve. It’s all about giving back. It’s easy to say when someone helps you, that you will ‘help back when you are able’ and then you get caught up in life and busy. But, this is a message I wanted my kids to have. We discussed it and wanted to follow through with it,” Lagana said. “I’m very happy because we strive to keep her memory alive.”

He honors his wife’s memory through the Judith L. Lagana Memorial Grant that raises money for Mesothelioma research and treatment at www.curemeso.org.

He said these efforts are just his way to give back to help others the same way the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation assisted his family through a difficult time.

“That help, you can’t put a figure on it, but I can tell you that it came at such a time that we would have never made it without it,” Lagana said. “It gave us the strength and ability to fight because we all know how expensive travel and treatments can be, and when you’re short on money and you’ve exhausted every single possibility it can cause you to give up. It was absolutely enormous.”

Judith L. Lagan with her sons Zachary, on left, and Samuel.

Judith L. Lagan with her sons Zachary, on left, and Samuel.


Step 1 Step 2

To register to the 7th annual Paddle For a Cause, participants must register both on PaddleGuru to register division and shirt sizes and register on Dojiggy to get your sponsorship page.

Ben Geraff (photo by Jeff Depew)

70 registered as bone marrow donors during Swab to Save a Life

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Hundreds from the surfing community helped the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation raise $10,000 during its Freeze For A Cause Saturday, Feb. 22 in Atlantic City.

There were 70 surfers in the water for the competition at North Carolina Avenue beach divided among five categories. More than 100 attended an after party at Margaritaville in Resorts Casino Hotel and helped the event become its most successful since its inception in 2009.

“I’m completely stoked at the turnout of 70 surfers who made it out to support this event,” said foundation President Paul Giunta of Somers Point. “God was smiling upon us with great waves this morning and there were plenty of smiles on the beach.”

The foundation partnered with Be The Match to register bone marrow donors and 70 people total were registered during the “Swab To Save A Life,” campaign to help find a donor for Anthony Daniels, 22, of Ridgeway, N.J. who is suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as well as thousands across the world seeking donors.

Twenty people were swabbed to help raise awareness Friday, Feb. 21 during “The Morning Edge with JoJo & Scotty” on 103.7 WMGM-FM including the show’s hosts, Joe Borsello of West Deptford and Scotty Reilly of Egg Harbor Township. Another 50 were swabbed at Jersey Devil Surf at Resorts Casino Hotel during the contest Saturday afternoon.

“The energy is amazing. The swab station is great. It’s a good feeling to know the good effort is helping people,” said Dean Randazzo of Atlantic City. “Not only are we raising money but maybe we can find a donor and save a life.”

The Freeze For A Cause was created in 2009 by Nick Bricker, Sam Hammer and Shannon Hammer Korb and benefited Dean Randazzo during his fourth battle with cancer and was held in Seaside Heights. The event was not held last year due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.


Dean Randazzo congratulates women's division winner Kali Emery, 26, of Manahawkin during the Freeze For a Cause Saturday, Feb. 22 on North Carolina Avenue in Atlantic City.

Dean Randazzo congratulates women’s division winner Kali Emery, 26, of Manahawkin during the Freeze For a Cause Saturday, Feb. 22 on North Carolina Avenue in Atlantic City.

There were 70 surfers in the water and just as many supporting them on the beach. Thanks to everyone who came out for The Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation Freeze For A Cause Saturday, Feb. 22 at North Carolina Avenue in Atlantic City.


1st Kali Emery, 26, of Manahawkin

2nd Justine Aguiar, 16, of Margate

3rd Annissa Miamone, 18, of Brick Township

Junior Men

1st Perry Siganos, 17, Longport

2nd Mike Vanaman, 13, Sicklerville

3rd Stephen Zarkoff, 12, Hainesport, N.J.

Grand Master

1st Frank Levin, 44, Somers Point

2nd Mike Dewald, 55, Cape May Court House

3rd Josh Williams, 36, of Atlantic City


1st Ben Graeff, 25, of Longport

2nd Kevin Dewald, 23, Cape May Court House

3rd Alex DePhillipo, 28, of Margate


1st Eric Becker, 46, Upper Township

2nd Kevin DeWald, 23, Cape May Court House

3rd Josh Williams, 36, Atlantic City

Here’s a little note from one of the DRCF’s beneficiaries, Karen.


I just wanted to check in and say hello.

I was sitting in chemo yesterday and realized it was three weeks ago that I got your call.

Since then, we have been pretty busy. Mark’s mom passed away suddenly on the Monday following meeting with you. We drove up to Massachusetts, where he is from, for the funeral. As anyone who has undergone chemo knows, the first week seems to be the hardest. I was weak and just feeling crappy, but I had to be there to support him and his family. What an emotional and stressful time. Although my mom can drive me crazy, I am so thankful she is still with me.

I am sharing this information because, although it was a difficult time for both of us and his whole family, by meeting with you the Thursday before, I was not also stressed financially and was able to focus on him and his grieving.

My state disability is under review, which is normal after a period of time. I understand the process and the need to confirm the legitimacy, as there is a lot of fraud out there. So, I will not be getting my disability for at least a month to six weeks while all the paperwork is shuffled. Without your support, my bills would not be paid this month.

So, although I may not write or call every day, I want you, and the rest of the Board to know that what you have done for me affects everything I do and is appreciated every day. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful to the DRCF. You have made one of the most stressful pieces of the fight less stressful. Please know that I thank God every day for each of you and my appreciation is beyond words.

Yesterday was the 5th chemo in a cycle of 6, so one more in this series. I will soon have a surgery date for December and will keep you posted.

Again, words cannot express my gratitude.


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