Mansfield resident Joe Andruzzi’s Golf Tournament is more than just some supposed fun in the sun with a few celebrities; according to him, it’s a labor of love.
“This is going on our fourth year now,” he said.
In 2007, the former New England Patriot and three-ring holder for his performance during superbowls was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma, which at the time was predicted to double in size in only 24 hours.
Andruzzi eventually beat the disease, after severe and aggressive chemotherapy treatments, but the impact it had on his life was hardly just physical.
A year later, he started the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which is dedicated to helping those with cancer pay for their utilities while they deal with the fallout.
The golf tournament is a way for Andruzzi to help raise money for those families.
“We provided financial assistance to over 100 cancer patients,” he said. “We’ve donated over $300,000 to Dr. Mark Kiernan for brain cancer research at the Children’s Hospital.”
But he’s not alone, other former and current New England Patriots come out each year to help raise funds and make for a great time for all involved.
“I reach out to my former colleagues that I played with and have them come out if they can, along with other Patriot Alumni,” he said. “I also reach out to the current players… It’s usually the end of their off season. A lot of them usually do go home and take a vacation before they head into training camp in mid to late July...It’s just a good time for people during the day and get out for 18 holes of golf. Hopefully, it’s a nice sunny day.”
Andruzzi said that his alumni status with the Patriots helps other players join the cause.
“Most of them know me and know what I do,” he said. “They’re pretty good on giving back and knowing that they’re there for a reason and they show up for me, my wife, my foundation and all the good we do.”
This year, Rob Gronkowski and Rob Ninkovich will be helping out as guest hosts for the golf outing at the event, along with other Patriot talent.
This is the fourth year of the tournament under the Andruzzi Foundation, and so far, Andruzzi said it’s been extremely successful.
“In the second and third year we had a great outing,” he said.
In the past two years, Andruzzi kept it local at the Tournament Players Club in Norton. This year, he’s moved it out to the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy for June 18. The event will feature New England Patriots as celebrity golfers and a golf ball helicopter drop.
Last year, despite rainy conditions, 127 people came out to play and support the cause at the Boston TPC. Despite the cause, Andruzzi said that there were always problems with the golf tournament, but he and those involved persevered and made the tournament happen, rain or shine.
“There was always problems each year,” he said. “You learn from your mistakes. Scheduling stuff and trying to get that right is difficult, and overall, for a golf outing you’re fighting mother nature too.”
The outing will begin with a 1 p.m. shotgun start, which, traditionally meant a shotgun shot would signal the start for all players across the course.
“We don’t do it that way,” he said.
In addition to their other causes, the Andruzzi Foundation funds pediatric brain cancer research in memory of C.J. Buckley.
C.J. Buckley was a friend of Andruzzi during his professional career. Buckley was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in the early 2000s, and Andruzzi and his wife have been funding research ever since.
More information and places to donate can be found here.