June 22, 2023 by
Kate Strotmeyer, Phillip Rau
“We can’t thank Joe and the Joe Andruzzi Foundation enough for their kindness,” said Gaudette and his fiancé, Brenda Geraw.
Smiles and Super Bowl rings were in abundant supply when former New England Patriot offensive tackle, three-time Super Bowl champion and cancer survivor Joe Andruzzi met with patients and care teams June 22 at the UVM Cancer Center as part of a road trip celebrating his namesake Joe Andruzzi Foundation’s 15th anniversary.
The event was in equal parts a celebration, an opportunity to provide encouragement and support to Cancer Center patients and staff, and an occasion to publicize the foundation’s core mission.
Since it was launched in 2008 — shortly after Andruzzi was declared canceer-free after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma in 2007, which ended his 10-year NFL career — the Andruzzi Foundation has raised more than $10 million for cancer victims with financial need.
The foundation provides funding to New England cancer patients of any age in active treatment through a variety of grant programs covering:
- Every day household expenses.
- Extraordinary needs.
- Food security.
- Transportation to treatment.
- Wellness resources that can include patient and family outings as well as access to meditation and yoga apps.
Interested patients should work with their social worker to apply for a grant.
Both Joe Andruzzi — the foundation’s co-founder and chief engagement officer — and his wife, Jen, president and CEO, spent about two hours meeting with Cancer Center patients and staff during the June visit.
The pair heard firsthand the impact the foundation has on the lives of cancer patients in Vermont.
One patient, William Gaudette, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April, and his family received grants that support multiple needs.
“These gifts — support for paying rent and food — they’ve taken a load off of us, for a while at least,” he said. “We can’t thank Joe and the Joe Andruzzi Foundation enough for their kindness.”
“It is such an honor to meet the patients we’ve helped,” Joe Andruzzi said. “Hearing their stories fuels our work. Those brave patients inspire all of us.”
Since its founding in 2008, the Foundation has provided more than $306,000 in financial support for 464 UVM Cancer Center patients, said Randall Holcombe, MD, MBA, director of the Cancer Center and associate dean for cancer programs at UVM’s Larner College of Medicine.
“The Foundation’s support for cancer patients is truly unique and deeply thoughtful,” he said. “It fills gaps for families where they need it — and that makes not just a financial impact, but emotional and mental impacts as well.”