Joe Andruzzi Gives Thanks For This Year’s Gratitude Gala

Want to party with some New England Patriots players in haute style? That’s just what you can do at the Gratitude Gala being held on Monday, December 4, at Gillette Stadium’s swanky Putnam Club.

This year’s 10th annual event hopes to raise more than $1 million for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which works to alleviate the burden of cancer by offering financial assistance to patients and their families in the New England area.

“The event all came to be when the foundation was born 10 years ago,” said retired NFL player Joe Andruzzi, who played five seasons with the Patriots earning three Super Bowl rings. “It’s being held at the Putnam Club and we take over the entire club. There’s a cocktail hour, we bring in some celebrities, sport figures and comedians. In the past, we have had Matt Chatham, Tedy Bruschi, Matt Light and Gronk. There is a silent auction, a couple of videos and speakers. We fill our tables with patients whose lives the foundation has touched.”

The evening, which will feature a seated three-course dinner, is being emceed by CBS Sports reporter and New England’s own Jenny Dell. (They will also be honoring 2017 (Up)Beat Award Recipient, Mark Kieran, MD, PhD). The foundation came about back in 2007 when Andruzzi was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma, predicted to double in size within 24 hours. His family quickly relocated back to New England where he underwent chemotherapy treatments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His last treatment  was on August 6, 2007.

Joe Andruzzi FoundationPhoto Credit: Joe Andruzzi Foundation

Since then, Andruzzi, who created the foundation with his wife, Jen, is grateful to have remained cancer-free. The foundation also keeps a special emphasis on staying upbeat and positive with it’s (Up)Beat Cancer initiative, a call to inspire patients to live joyfully during cancer treatment. Emphasizing fun and humor, the motto grew out of Joe’s personal experiences meeting patients over the years, including many brave children who didn’t let their disease affect their spirits and optimism. The foundation helps honor this goal by taking patients and their family on fun adventures like the Boston Harbor’s Codzilla ride in the summer, and once in lifetime experiences such as on the field during Patriots Training Camp.

Why is this year going to be so special? “This is my tenth anniversary of being cancer free and it’s also the 10-year anniversary for the foundation,” Andruzzi added. “We have been able to help over 7,000 individuals, which is the most rewarding thing. To get a hug from someone I don’t know who tells me how much we have helped them gives me chills. Last year, we made $1 million at the gala, so this year, we are hoping to make a little more. I love being a part of this and being able to help alleviate that financial burden that comes with cancer in a small way.”