About 60 cancer survivors will ride. Others wear tokens of remembrance. It’s a fun day, but it also makes you think hard about cancer and the agony it has caused. Someday, we will look back on the disease the same way we look back on tuberculosis.
Marc Buoniconti and his father, Nick, have taken a similar attitude toward paralysis. Finding a cure is a matter of time, research and dedication. Fueling these efforts requires money.
Mandich understood need and the obligation to give back. Through his revival of the Miami Touchdown Club, $300,000 was raised for retired players. He set an example for sports stars to use their platform for good.
“Humility and unselfishness are values he instilled in us,” Michael said. “So many people come up to me to talk about his kindness and positive outlook. It hammers home the knowledge that he spread and received a lot of love.”
Love for fellow man, love for family — that was Mandich. He was a strict disciplinarian to his boys. They greeted his famous friends as “Mr.” or “Sir.” They did the grunt work on the refurbishment of Ziggie and Mad Dog’s — Mandich’s restaurant in Islamorada. But he also ran routes with his sons on the golf course behind their house. He’d bring them to the broadcast booth. And, best of all, he’d take them to a Michigan football game in the Big House once a season.
Toward the end of his life, Mandich kept giving, kept working.
Such was his 40-year love affair with the Dolphins that he even used a feeding tube to get through the last couple games of the 2010 season.
When asked how he was feeling, Mandich gave his standard reply: “Never better.”
The same can be said of the giant bike ride organized by his team in his honor.