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BOSTON (CBS) - The New England Patriots teed off on Monday, hoping to help knock out cancer.
It was the fourth annual Joe Andruzzi and Friends Golf Tournament at the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, all to support the Joe Andruzzi Foundation help cancer patients and their families.
“What we’re about is to help families and those families that are struggling,” said Andruzzi, who battled non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2007. “I was in the NFL for 10 years, other families aren’t as fortunate. I know those walls close in at the hospital; I’m the one getting poked with needles but my wife and kids were going through it too, as many people out there are doing the same thing. Sometimes the caregiver has to leave their job, but the mortgage and the rent still needs to be paid. That’s where our foundation steps in.”
Joe Andruzzi On Tournament, Foundation:
Since the foundation was founded in 2008, Andruzzi has helped more than 100 families with financial assistance, and raised more than $300,000 toward brain cancer research.
Andruzzi and his family became involved in cancer research back in 2003, when they began the C.J. Buckley Cancer Research Fund at Children’s Hospital Boston. It was started in memory of C.J. Buckley, a 10-year-old with inoperable brain cancer that touched Andruzzi’s heart before his passing in 2002.
“Ten years ago, C.J. passed on and we were able to raise half a million dollars in three years for brain cancer research. Two years later, I’m calling that doctor for my own health. God works in funny ways sometimes,” he said. “Since the Joe Andruzzi Foundation came on board in 2008, we’ve helped over 100 families, donated over $300 thousand to brain cancer research, and we’re just happy and excited to do more.”
This year Andruzzi, who won three Super Bowls as an offensive lineman with the Patriots from 2000-04, called upon a pair of Robs to headline the event in Rob Gronkowski and Rob Ninkovich.
“We had to throw a little spin on the golf outing, and Rob and Rob, since they came to the Patriots, they’ve been part of the gala and part of the golf outing for a few years now,” said the former Patriot. “They really support everything we do and they’re great in the community. To have them come out and attach their name to the golf outing and co-host today is just an added bonus for us, and I think it’s great to have them out here to show what they’re about.”
Ninkovich and Gronkowski On Event:
While both Robs were more than happy to help, they both had some concern about hitting the links.
“I’m excited to be here, happy that Joe asked me to be a part of this,” said Ninkovich. “Anything I can do to help out, especially with what Joe is doing, I think it’s great what he does for families.
“I’m excited to see if I can hit a golf ball straight,” the Pats linebacker added.
“I’m a hacker. I don’t have any special skills out on the golf course,” admitted Gronkowski.
“It’s a great event. We get a free round of golf in, a couple of meals out of it, but we’re supporting (Joe),” Gronkowski said. “He’s been through so much, his family. What he is raising money for is a great cause; [we’ll do] anything we can do to help and get to what he wants to achieve through his foundation.”
Jerod Mayo, Dane Fletcher, Dan Koppen and Logan Mankins were also on hand, among many other current Patriots. Included in the Patriot alumni to attended were Tedy Bruschi, recently-retired lineman Matt Light, and Ronny Lippett.
Kevin Faulk, who is currently unsigned, was also in attendance, ready to take some cuts.
He too admitted he wasn’t that good though.
“Very horrible,” Faulk said of his game. “The best thing about my golf game is my clubs. They look good.”
Not having much game on the course seemed to be a going trend for the tournament, even from the man who got it all started.
“My bag is very heavy and there is only one reason for that: a lot of golf balls in it,” joked Andruzzi.
The event included a scramble-style golf tournament, a special helicopter drop – where pre-purchased golf balls will be dropped onto a green and the ball closest to the hole wins the grand prize – and a dinner reception with a live and silent auction.
All proceeds from the day benefit the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.