Things happen for a reason.
How many times have you told this to yourself or someone else?
It’s definitely a phrase that I’ve got at the ready when things aren’t going as planned. There’s something comforting about the whole idea of a bigger plan – that the people you meet and the experiences you have are part of your life for a reason, even if you don’t understand it at that time.
Joe and Jen Andruzzi’s story makes a strong case for the whole “things happen for a reason” idea.
As a Pats fan, I was familiar with Joe’s football career and his cancer diagnosis, but as I immersed myself in their story for this post, the whole “things happen for a reason” seemed to be a recurring theme, which is why I’m so excited to feature the Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF) in today’s Charity Spotlight.
OK, now you should hit play on the YouTube clip below.
Joe and Jen’s first-hand experience with fighting cancer puts them in a unique position, and I think that’s part of what makes this charity so successful. Not only are they familiar with the day-to-day challenges that come with cancer, but they understand the importance of a holistic approach of both financial and emotional help for patients and their families. Yes, financial help is a blessing, but seeing pictures from their (Up)Beat Outings, where they remove patients from the daily grind of cancer treatment, gives me all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings.
You never wish cancer on people, but I have to wonder if Joe went through what he did so that he could make a difference in the lives of so many people.
WHO: Joe Andruzzi, former NFL guard and his wife, Jen Andruzzi
CHARITY NAME: The Joe Andruzzi Foundation
CAUSES: “The Joe Andruzzi Foundation is committed to providing help, hope, and a reason to smile for cancer patients and their families by contributing financial and emotional support when it is needed most.”
The organization’s approach is (Up)Beat Cancer: “It’s everything we stand for. It’s our philosophy. And our rallying cry. Upbeat is how Joe approached cancer, and he battled through it. Now we’re committed to helping others. Together, with a positive attitude and a sense of humor, we’ll fight to not only beat cancer, but upbeat it.”
As of May 2015, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation has raised $7,142,660 and assisted 3,440 patients.
EVENTS: They have sooooooo many events, it’s ridiculously awesome.
2015 will mark the 8th year for the Foundation’s annual Gratitude Gala and let me tell you, it looks like a friggin amazing party. The 2014 gala, held at Gillette Stadium, raised over $900,000. (Yes, that’s almost a million dollars.) Funds are raised through sponsorship opportunities and a live and silent auction held at the event. Joe’s famous friends (of the professional athlete variety) are among the attendees, as well as some of the families benefiting from the Foundation.
The Foundation also works with runners to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through races, including the Boston Marathon, the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, and the Falmouth Road Race. (The last one is a big deal up here in New England.) For the Boston Marathon, the Foundation hosts a viewing party, in addition to other fundraising events for their runners.
Other successful fundraising efforts include the annual Up(Beat) comedy night, holiday shopping at David Yurman, and a partnership with Honey Dew Donuts, New England’s largest locally owned coffee and donut shop chain.
Did I mention they also have an Alex & Ani bangle? As part of the jewelry brand’s Charity by Design line, 20% of the purchase price from each bracelet goes back to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. Love it!
Last, but certainly not least, is the annual Joe Andruzzi and Friends Golf Tournament, held at the prestigious Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth, MA. This year marks the 7th year of the tournament, where Joe and friends (you know, of the NFL variety) hit the links with generous patrons. An auction is also held. The 2014 event raised over $250,000.
(You still have time to become a sponsor for this year’s tournament, which will be held on Monday, June 29. Click here for more details.)
We hope that 2015 is the most successful year yet for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation!
All photographs courtesy of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.