Everyone has causes that he or she is passionate about, and Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel and his wife Samantha are no different.
The two are once again partnering with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for childhood cancer to host a tailgate from 10 a.m. EST to 1 p.m. EST on Sunday before the Dolphins host the New York Giants.
100 percent of the event’s proceeds will go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which aims to “change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.”
For Andrew Van Ginkel, this is something very personal. His sister died when she was nine years old due to childhood cancer. Unfortunately, the 28-year-old never got a chance to meet her. However, that hasn’t stopped him from being passionate about the cause.
“I just love seeing his passions and dreams come to life,” Samantha Van Ginkel told Dolphin Nation.
Future events with Alex’s Lemonade Stand are surely in store, with this past offseason seeing the Van Ginkels host a lemonade stand in their hometown of Rock Valley, Iowa. Andrew Van Ginkel has previously represented Alex’s Lemonade Stand for the NFL’s annual My Cause My Cleats initiative and seems likely to do so again this season.
It can be tough for football players to juggle off-field events like this one during the season. Things can be even more difficult with two little kids in the household, as the Van Ginkels now have.
Even with a more demanding role this season, Andrew Van Ginkel has been finding ways to prioritize what needs taking care of. For example, after a tough Week 4 loss to the Buffalo Bills, he returned home at around 10 p.m. EST. After noticing his baby son was sick, the former fifth-round pick immediately began to focus on taking care of him.
The statuses of future tailgates is a bit uncertain at the moment, given Andrew Van Ginkel’s contract situation. He re-signed with the Dolphins last offseason on a one-year deal worth $2.7 million after fielding interest from teams like the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders.
He figures to have tons of interest this offseason with the way he’s been playing (87.7 PFF grade) and how much he’s been on the field (played in 69 percent of Miami’s defensive snaps). Dolphins fans have come to really love him for his efforts on the field over the past few seasons.
“He’s worked so hard for this, and I think he deserves every recognition that he’s getting,” Samantha Van Ginkel said. “And it makes me very happy to see that finally come to life. And I just hope he takes advantage of every opportunity that he’s given this year.”
The offseason is on the back-burner for now, however, with full focus coming on Sunday’s event and the rest of the season.
One of Samantha Van Ginkel’s favorite things is to tailgate, so her excitement for the event is easy to understand. She enjoys meeting fans and the social aspect of tailgates.
Hopes for the event are simple. Samantha Van Ginkel called last year’s event a good learning experience and emphasized that there’s going to be more of a focus on drinks this time around instead of food.
“We just hope that a lot of people come and realize that this is a good cause because it really is,” said Ashley Madrigal, who works with the Van Ginkels and has helped plan the event.
Those who show up to the tailgate on Sunday should have some high expectations. Samantha Van Ginkel claims to be known for two things: her tailgates and signature “Sam” shots.
She wouldn’t give up the full recipe for those shots, but did make sure to mention that she’s a whiskey girl and that the world “needs to know what a ‘Sam’ shot is.”
Sunday’s event will have jello shots, brownies, lemonade and even koozies with Andrew Van Ginkel’s face on them on sale. There will also be a raffle featuring autographed Dolphins merchandise.
It doesn’t stop there, as a sponsored family, who will receive signed Andrew Van Ginkel gear, will go out onto the field during the game.
Donations can be made here, with a little over $1,000 of the $10,000 goal being raised so far.