This summer, Dean Randazzo beat cancer. …Again.
In 2001, the New Jersey-by way-of-La Jolla, former-WCT competitor was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes. The “Jersey Devil” slapped the disease into remission, embarking on a recovery of heroic proportions. He came back to win the inaugural Smith Optics Garden State Grudge Match and initiate the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation, to benefit other surfers with the disease and fund research.
Last spring, during a semiannual physical, doctors found mutant cells that had survived the original treatment. This time, Randazzo wasn’t taking any chances.
He began by whipping his body into shape for the abuse it was about to endure. Starting on May 1st, Randazzo took a pair of three-day blasts of chemo. Each day, he had to inject himself with a fluid that would promote the growth of baby stem cells in his bone marrow.
Randazzo then underwent a technical stem cell transfusion, where doctors stuck a tube into his jugular vein, not far from his heart, forcing his blood through a machine and extracting all the stem cells from his body.
As if destructive chemicals, needles, and blood sucking machines weren’t enough, the grueling part was still to come. With virtually zero immune system, Randazzo checked into UC San Diego’s Thornton Hospital for 22 days, where he was given a cocktail of toxic chemo drugs to fully annihilate any remaining cancer, before the stem cells were fired back into his body. It took thirteen days, but the cells kicked in, rebuilding his bone marrow and returning him to health.
A lesser man might not have the constitution to bounce back twice, but by early August, he was surfing Oceanside, to the horror of his doctors.
“It was little weird to surf again. My mind knows what it wants to do, but my body hasn’t been there in so long. It’s just so good for my attitude to be out there again.”
Just ten days after being released from the hospital, Randazzo flew to France and surfed in the Lacanau Pro. And he recently surfed in the Unsound Pro, in New York. Check out his Cancer Foundation “Surf for a Cause,” website at DeanRandazzoCancerFoundation.org