Dean Randazzo, New Jersey’s most successful professional surfer, was stricken with cancer in 2001. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has been battling the disease ever since. His life was profoundly changed by the diagnosis and he has faced many obstacles in undergoing his treatment. He is not alone.
It was through Dean’s diagnosis and steadfast determination not to let cancer beat him, that our Foundation was created. With the help of Dean’s friends and family, he created the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation in 2001.
Upon learning of his diagnosis, in the height of his professional surfing career, Dean struggled with whether to tell sponsors about his diagnosis for fear of losing his job – for professional athletes such as Dean earn their income based upon their health and success. After telling his family, and having a conversation with his brother Joe, Dean decided to turn his misfortune into something good. He decided to have a surf contest that would bring awareness to his friends and family in the surfing community about the risks of cancer and how to deal with the possible diagnosis head-on.
That summer, at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA to a national media, Dean told the surfing world that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Although some of his fears about losing sponsor’s support became reality, there was also a massive outpouring of support.
Dean decided to create a non-profit foundation which would raise funds to promote cancer awareness. He contacted Adam Walcoff who prepared the Articles of Incorporation which was filed on September 5, 2001 and the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation was established.
Weeks later, the first “Surf for a Cause” was held September 15, 2001 and was a huge success – raising over $20,000.00! After the event, at a barbeque at Mary Lou’s house (Dean’s mother), much discussion about the direction the DRCF could take ensued. We realized that the Surf For A Cause would be an annual event, but that there were other events we could promote. Dean had little time to focus on this newest endeavor – he was still battling Round 1 of what would become a 4-round battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma II.
Over the years, the direction of the DRCF began to take shape. Adam Walcoff became the DRCF’s first non-Randazzo President and the Board of Trustees grew. The number of fundraising events grew as well and the focus of our Mission came to light.
We have had some events in the past which we no longer do – like the West Coast Drink for a Cause and the East Coast Event at Game On (complete with Bull-Riding competition).
The development of the Freeze for a Cause, Golf for A Cause and Paddle for a Cause have all but assured our financial success. The Surf For A Cause continues to be an annual festival at the beach and has become more of a reunion than a fundraiser.
Our mission is to promote and encourage awareness about the risks of cancer and to provide assistance to victims of cancer battling the disease.
We are a New Jersey Non-Profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All donations are tax deductible. More than 90% of our funds raised go directly to the purposes for which we were formed. We are 100% volunteer – there are NO paid DRCF Board Members or employees.
12 years later, Dean has been cancer-free for 4 years and the DRCF has raised and donated over $300,000.00 for our purposes.
Not too shabby for a bunch of surfers.
Prepared By: Adam Walcoff