On Saturday, June 12, approximately 75 participants will converge on Ski Beach in Ventnor Heights to partake in this year’s Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation’s Paddle for a Cause. This marks the 13th anniversary of the event, which returns after a break in 2020.
This year’s event and afterparty will be held at Ski Beach, which is at the end of Dorset Avenue in Ventnor Heights. The afterparty will begin at 1 p.m. at the same location as the race, which is a departure from previous years.
“We wanted to make this more of a family/festival type of event,” said current DRCF President Brady Middlesworth, adding “ and this year’s Paddle for a Cause offers something for everyone.”
Those wanting an endurance event can paddle in the 22-mile, around-the-island race. For those wanting something a little bit less grueling, there is the 6-mile paddle-at-your-own-pace option. There is also a kids division with a shorter paddle distance. And if team sports are more your speed, gather four to six friends and join the 1 mile SUP-Squatch race. A SUP-Squatch is like the stand-up paddleboard version of a dragon boat, minus the drum.
The onsite afterparty is being hosted by Bocca Restaurant and will feature live music by Mel and Tony. While admission is free, there will be plenty of DRCF merchandise for sale, and of course, donations are always welcome.
Event sponsors (so far) include: Presenting Sponsor Caruso Excavating, Timber Ridge Developers, Copiers Plus, Polistina and Associates Engineering, DeNafo & Walcoff, Atlantic Coast Alarm.
According to Middlesworth, Paddle for a Cause was born when eight friends of local surf legend Dean Randazzo opted to paddle around Absecon Island as a show of solidarity to Randazzo and others who were battling cancer. From there, the event has grown to include close to 100 participants. The Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation hopes to raise $75,000 with this year’s Paddle for a Cause. Each participant sets a fundraising goal, and through donations from family and friends, reaches that goal.
Randazzo and friends launched the foundation after Randazzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation was created in 2001 with the mission to promote cancer awareness within the surfing community and to provide financial support to people battling cancer. “Dean wanted to help people in similar situations, to make something good out of something bad,” Middlesworth said.
Since its inception in 2001, The Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation has strived to provide need-based financial assistance directly to people who have cancer. To date, the foundation has donated over $500,000 to people in need. The organization has also provided grants to Gilda’s Club of South Jersey, Shore Medical Cancer Center, The Ruth Newman Shapiro Cancer Fund, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Jersey, AtlantiCare, and Cape Regional Cancer Center.
A nationally-registered non-profit 501©(3), the foundation is run by a dedicated group of volunteers. This allows DRCF to donate approximately 90% of its proceeds, directly helping members of our community.
To register for the paddle, to make a donation or to sponsor a paddler, please visit the DRCF website at thedrcf.org. Online registration closes Friday.