MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich led the Miami Dolphins on and off the field as a player then as the voice of the team before being diagnosed with cancer.
But Mad Dog lost his battle with cancer last spring, but his spirit will be alive next weekend for the Dolphins Cycling Challenge that will honor him and raise money for the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
For his family, Mad Dog’s memory is a constant with them.
“Thirty-five years is a long time,” said Jim’s wife Bonnie. “I don’t want to tell you it’s easy, it’s not. I am busy a lot, but there’s still is nighttime when it’s quiet and that’s when I miss him the most because you stop and you breathe.”
The Dolphins launched the cycling challenge last year to honor Mandich as he was battling bile duct cancer.
The challenge is a 2-day bike ride to raise awareness and funds. Last year while Jim was battling cancer, he was on hand to cut the ribbon while Bonnie and their boys rode in the race.
“Cancer touches everybody unfortunately, but we do have such a great cancer center right here in Miami,” said Bonnie.
Bikers will start at Sun Life Stadium and then ride for 170 miles over the next two days. There’s also a 30 mile leg for those wanting a shorter ride.
CBS4’s Kim Bokamper will again take part in the cycling challenge for his friend Jim, and is set to ride 100 miles. CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo will also take part and if you’d like to sponsor Lisa Petrillo’s ride, find her under “Team Petrillo”.
Last year’s even raised of $500,000. The goal for the 2011 ride is $1 million.
“It is bittersweet,” said Bonnie. “I am reminded every day not just of him; but so many things we’re trying to do in South Florida to raise awareness for cancer in his name which is wonderful.”
The Ride DCC Race is at Sun Life Stadium on November 5th and 6th. If you’d like to sign up or donate click here.