Pedaling for a purpose: Son honors mother’s memory by leading team FPL in Dolphins Challenge Cancer
January 19, 2024
Rob Adams rides his bike to prepare for the Dolphins Challenge Cancer event in February

DAVIE, Fla. - Under the early morning sun, Rob Adams pedaled his bike along a familiar path heading toward Treetops Park in Davie. The rhythmic whirl of the wheels beneath him provided a comforting soundtrack. But even in this meditative state, his thoughts were focused elsewhere – on his mother, Jean Adams, who left this world too soon, passing away from throat cancer in 2011.

As he rode, memories of her flooded his mind.

“I think a lot about her time working in real estate and living in Broward. Together we watched the buildup of the county she was so heavily involved in,” said Adams. “She would be stunned by the amount of growth today.”

Bicycling quickly became Adams’ solace, a way to connect with the memories of his mother, while also giving him the drive to prioritize his physical health. He pushed himself to go further, conquering every turn or extra mile just as Jean had faced challenges in her own life.

“I look back at the toughness and determination my mom applied to her fight against cancer with awe. First tackling breast cancer and then the treatment for throat cancer. I tell my legs to ‘be quiet.’ This ride is nothing compared to that,” he said.

One day, as Adams headed east toward the airport, he discovered I-595 in Central Broward was flooded with thousands of bicyclists. Intrigued, he went home to research the event and discovered the bicyclists were participating in Dolphins Challenge Cancer (DCC), a year-round cancer initiative that culminates in their signature ride, run and walk fundraising event in support of innovative cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

DCC is a signature Miami Dolphins’ initiative and the leading fundraising event in the NFL. Fourteen years in, the DCC has raised more than $64 million for cancer research through innovative science, leading-edge technology and personalized patient care.

“I thought to myself ‘wow, what a cool way to take what I love doing, riding my bike, and to try to raise money in memory of my mom,’” said Adams.

Nearly a decade later, Adams leads his company’s team in raising funds and awareness for cancer research through the DCC. As a captain of Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) team for the last five years and a participant for nine, he finds joy in sharing his mission with his coworkers, friends, family and community.

“When you’re further along in your career like me, you start looking at how you’ll leave your legacy,” said Adams. “I’ve found great purpose in working with the Dolphins Challenge Cancer event.”

At work, Adams is no stranger to leadership. In the last 35 years with FPL, he’s held positions across the company from supervising power delivery field crews to running the systems that keep customers’ lights on. Today, he serves as a Senior Director of Power Delivery Technology. That leadership experience helped him lead his cycling team for DCC, which has raised nearly $1 million in the last 11 years.

 “We believe that you don’t need to have cancer to fight cancer. Through the DCC's year-round initiative, we engage the South Florida community in the fight against a disease that impacts us all,” said Dolphins Challenge Cancer Executive Director Javier Sanchez. “It’s thanks to people like Rob Adams, FPL and the collective effort of all DCC participants that we are able to raise funds for innovative cancer research.”

This year's DCC will take place Feb. 24 at the Hard Rock Stadium. More than 80 riders and runners are gearing up to take part in the race as part of team FPL. “Too many of us have lost parents, relatives and friends to cancer,” said Adams. “Raising money for cancer research honors their memory and helps our community.”