Joe Andruzzi, a three time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots, stood at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, greeting members of his Joe Andruzzi Foundation, as they made their way up Boylston Street.
“We saw friends of ours, a mother and daughter tandem team. They were coming through the finish line all shaken up, her fiancé was with them. He was bleeding all down the side of his face. My wife ran over grabbed the stroller, I grabbed him and we brought them right to the medical tent,” Andruzzi said.
Joe and his wife Jen then made their way towards the Forum Restaurant, where the rest of his foundation had gathered the site of the second explosion.
“My wife pointed out the three young girls trying to carry a woman on their back. That’s the point where I ran over and said ‘let me help you.’ I scooped up the woman, which happened to be their mom, scooped up the mom and walked her down the block to an ambulance. She was hit in the leg with something,” he said.
Helping others, even while endangering himself, is something Andruzzi says, was instilled in him growing up in family full of heroes.
“My three brothers that are New York City fireman, and the 4th would be my dad who was a cop for over 20 years in New York City. They are my heroes, I look up to them,” he said.
After carrying a woman to safety, Andruzzi once again tried making his way back to Forum Restaurant, to check on the members of his foundation.
He rushed down an alley, to the back door of the restaurant when he was stopped in his tracks.
“I looked down and my heart dropped, I saw a pile of blood sitting at the back door. The one woman that was hurt was Heather Abbott and she was coming into the bar and that’s who Matt Chatham, my good friend and former teammate and his wife and a couple of my staff and board members carried her out the back. That was the blood that was out the back door.”
Andruzzi knows pain, perseverance, and healing. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2007, and formed his Joe Andruzzi Foundation to help cancer patients and their families during financially challenging times; a foundation that placed him at the finish line.
His up-beat cancer initiative carries a massage that has no boundaries.
“Laughter is our best medicine and to stay upbeat and to try and take it one day at a time and be positive as much as you can. It helps you get through those tough times.”