Dean Randazzo was the driving force behind the creation of the foundation. When he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer, Randazzo was at the top of his surfing career. New Jersey’s most successful surfer struggled with the decision to tell his sponsors about his diagnosis out of fear of losing sponsorships that funded his career. He told the world at U.S. Open of Surfing in 2001 and decided to dedicate his efforts to helping others.
Past-President Adam Walcoff prepared the Articles of Incorporation and the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation was established Sept. 5, 2001. The inaugural Surf for a Cause was held Sept. 15, 2001 in Margate and raised more than $20,000. Mary Lou Randazzo, Dean’s mother, held the first after party in her backyard.
Throughout the years, the board of trustees grew and focused on strengthening its mission. Events were created to further that mission in the community. The Paddle for a Cause that takes paddleboarders on a 22.5-mile course around Absecon Island; the Freeze for a Cause is the annual coldwater surfing competition and a Golf for a Cause. Some events, such as the West Coast Drink for a Cause were eliminated.
Since its inception, the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation has donated more than $500,000 to individuals battling cancer and their families. The foundation also provides grants to local organizations including the Ruth Newman Shapiro Cancer Fund, Shore Medical Center Cancer Center, Gilda’s Club of South Jersey, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Jersey, Cape Regional Cancer Center and AtlantiCare Cancer Center.
More than 90 percent of funds raised go directly to the purposes for which the organization was formed and everyone is a volunteer – there are no paid members of the board or employees. The Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation is a New Jersey Non-Profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization.