Quick Hits Boston: Why You Should Sign up for Joe Andruzzi & Friends’ Golf Tournament

If you are looking for a great way to kick off the summer right, now is your chance to hit the links with your favorite three-time Super Bowl Champion. On Monday, June 26, former Patriots offensive guard and cancer survivor Joe Andruzzi and his wife, Jen, executive director of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, will be hosting the ninth annual Joe Andruzzi & Friends Golf Tournament at Pinehills Golf Club.

The summer golf tournament, which raised $335,000 last year, raises money for the foundation, which assists cancer patients and their families by contributing financial and emotional support as well as funding pediatric brain cancer research. Andruzzi himself was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma in 2007 and was treated at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Since then, he has dedicated his life to supporting other cancer patients and funding life-saving research.

This year’s event will start off with a continental breakfast, move to an afternoon on the links, and finish off with a cocktail reception, dinner, guest speaker, and live auction. Sponsorship levels begin at $350.

We caught up recently with Jen Andruzzi to find out why they decided to create this summer event, how much money they hope to raise and what makes this year extra special.

How did this event come to be?

In 2007, my husband Joe’s football career abruptly ended when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Burkitt’s lymphoma and later treated at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Joe beat the disease, and remains cancer free today, and the two of us formed a new passion that stemmed from his battle: helping other patients and their families. After witnessing first-hand the stress cancer can cause, Joe and I created the Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF) in 2008 to help patients and their families meet life’s day-to-day challenges. About a year later, we decided to host a golf-fundraiser with the goal of bringing together Joe’s teammates, local athlete and celebrities, and Foundation supporters for a fun and upbeat day out on the links. It’s hard to believe we’re already nine years into the event – it’s really been a special journey.

Photo Credit: Joe Andruzzi Foundation

How much money do you hope to raise through this year’s tournament? How many patients would that allow you to help?

Our 2016 event raised more than $335,000 and we’re hoping to exceed that number  this year – all in support of JAF’s mission to provide help, hope, and a reason to smile for cancer patients and their families by contributing financial and emotional support when it is needed most. Proceeds from last year’s tournament allowed us to provide financial assistance to more than 475 cancer patients, so the sky is the limit for 2017!

What makes this year’s event different?

Year after year, we get really positive feedback on the event from our supporters, so we try not to fiddle with the tournament’s format. Like in past years, golfers will tee off at 10 a.m. at Pinehills Golf Club and play a fun and upbeat “scramble” format – where foursomes tee off, then choose the best of the groups shots for the next shot. All golfers then play the second shot from that location, and again choose the best shot. This process is continued until the ball is holed. Lenny Clarke will also be this year’s live auctioneer, which is almost an event in itself.

But what makes this year’s event extra special is that Joe just passed (on May 30) the 10-year anniversary of his cancer diagnosis. In the weeks following, Joe and I didn’t know what the future would hold for us and our family – we were just hoping to get through each day of treatment and stay as positive as we could. Fast-forward nine years, and the Joe Andruzzi Foundation has raised more than $11 million for cancer patients in need. We feel like the luckiest people in the world.

Why is this event such an important part of supporting the Foundation?

Our foundation has a loyal following who supports the Foundation’s mission on an ongoing basis as well as through multiple fundraising avenues, including two major annual events: our golf tournament and “The Gratitude Gala,” which takes place in each fall. The funds raised through events help us provide grants to patients year-round, and the more we raise equals the more we can give. Since the inaugural event in 2009, our foundation has raised over $1.6 million through the Joe Andruzzi & Friends Golf Tournament and so much of that has to do with our amazing partners at East Commerce Solution, Inc., who, once again, will be the presenting sponsor of the outing.

But, at its core, the event is so special because of the people who come out to support the event. From athletes and celebrities to friends and JAF patient recipients, the day is really the culmination of generosity and goodwill. It’s a day we look forward to all year long, and we can’t wait to see everyone out on the links on June 26!