Duo aims to grow Team Hurricanes’ engagement with Dolphins Challenge Cancer

Emily Wilson, 02-21-2022

University administrators lead the charge to increase faculty and staff participation in this week’s DCC.


There’s always room for more players on Team Hurricanes, a growing group of University of Miami faculty and staff members who are raising funds for vital cancer research through the Dolphins Challenge Cancer (DCC)

That’s the message from Jessica Brumley, vice president for the Division of Facilities Operations and Planning, and Guillermo “Willy” Prado, dean for the Graduate School, vice provost for Faculty Affairs, and professor. Brumley and Prado are working together to promote faculty and staff engagement with the DCC as an important, and enjoyable way to give back.

Both administrators have participated in the event for several years and will lead their own teams at DCC XII on Saturday, Feb. 26, helping to raise funds for cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System.

After coming to the University in 2018, Brumley learned about the DCC for the first time from colleagues who were involved in the event. She now leads a team of 17, Team Hurricanes–FO&P, and sits on the DCC’s Board of Directors.

“Raising money for cancer research is a cause that, unfortunately, touches all of us,” said Brumley, who lost a grandfather to cancer. “I think it’s something everybody can relate to, whether you’re personally impacted or someone that you love and care for is going through it.”

Although about 1,800 Team Hurricanes members participated in last year’s DCC, Brumley said that encouraging more faculty and staff members to join the team will extend the DCC’s reach farther outside the University and will bring in more people from the greater Miami community.

Prado agrees. To widen the net and increase faculty and staff participation in the DCC, he has taken advantage of opportunities to spread the word and “tap into folks who hadn’t been participating,” he said.

“It’s incredible how just a couple of new people can translate into more gifts, because of the social network aspect [of the fundraiser],” he added.

Prado, who lost a grandmother and an aunt to cancer, has been on the University’s faculty since 2007. He first became interested in the DCC about 10 years ago, when two medical colleagues reached out to him for donations. Prado began walking the 5K himself, and now leads Team Hurricanes–Prado Pride.

Having mentored a colleague who was active in cancer prevention work, Prado also has praise for Sylvester’s support of early-career faculty, and the impact of that support on community health.

While registration for in-person events has closed, there is still time to sign up to participate virtually—either to run, walk, or cycle. Those who aren’t able to participate can support Team Hurricanes by donating to help team members toward their fundraising goals. 

Since its inception, the DCC has raised more than $45.5 million for cancer research, with 100 percent of participant-raised funds going to Sylvester. Now the NFL’s largest fundraiser, the event provides Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center with resources that drive innovative research, benefiting countless cancer patients and their families.

Asked what makes the DCC unique, Brumley cited the camaraderie and the fun. She said that people often remain at the finish lines after completing their events, to cheer on and congratulate others. And then there’s the high-energy after-party at Hard Rock Stadium, with music, food, and drink.

“It’s really engaging and lively—almost a celebration,” Brumley said. “You know, ‘We’re here, we’re ready to fight.’ The attitude is of fighting for those we love, and the overall atmosphere is of a celebration of life.”

Register for virtual participation. All participants have until March 15, to meet their fundraising goals. All funds raised through DCC also support the University’s Ever Brighter campaign goal of $2.5 billion.

Contact TeamHurricanesDCC@miami.edu to learn more about joining Team Hurricanes.