The Joe Andruzzi Foundation’s slogan “(Up)Beat Cancer” represents its aim to maintain a positive outlook in times of struggle. Former New England Patriots Joe Andruzzi and Matt Chatham, along with several other members of the foundation, did just that when they helped victims of last year’s marathon bombing.
“Your goal in life is to have the right people surrounding you at all times, and I think that was really evident that day,” Andruzzi’s wife, Jen, told FOX Sports. “Even the people who are supporting the foundation, whether it was staff member, volunteer, board member… everybody stepped in. We could not have been prouder of any individual.”
Andruzzi’s foundation was celebrating at Forum, which is located near the finish line on Boylston Street, when the bombs went off and Andruzzi — along with other foundation members — instantly started assisting those who were injured. The former Patriots lineman carried Heather Abbott, a woman with a severe leg injury, to a quiet alley, where he stayed with her until she received emergency medical attention.
Abbott’s leg had to be amputated from the knee down, but her strength and optimism motivated Chatham’s wife, Erin, JAF board member Peter Riddle and 45 other JAF board members to train for the 2014 Boston Marathon.
“She had so much strength and a smile on her face and she went through one of the most difficult things in her life,” Riddle said of Abbott. “She just had so much strength and courage, I was like, I’m going to do it.”
Erin and Riddle said training for the marathon has been an emotional experience, but it will be worth it to spread their message to remain upbeat even under disastrous circumstances.
“We want to take that upbeat mission that the foundation has and carry it over to the marathon and the events of last year’s marathon,” Riddle said. “We want to have our upbeatness be part of that. We want to take the worst day of last year and make it the best day this year.”
Photo via Twitter/@matt281970