11th ANNUAL DICK VITALE GALA at the Ritz Carlton, Sarasota on Friday, May 13, 2016.
- Honoring Former University of Wisconsin Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bo Ryan, “Good Morning America” Anchor Robin Roberts and Ohio State University Head Football Coach Urban Meyer
“Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®
Serving as the heartbeat of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, formed by ESPN and Jim Valvano in 1993, his words throughout the ESPY speech inspire millions to get involved. After being diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 46, Jim dreamed of finding cures for cancer. Passionate and committed, he wanted to see his fight through to victory. As a former coach, he began to recruit his team of family and friends to lead The Foundation in his quest to eradicate the disease.
As a cancer patient, Jim recognized the need to invest in young physicians and scientists to help establish their careers—after all, someone had invested in him early in his career! Addressing the need to help early-career cancer investigators develop into promising research talents was the first goal of The Foundation. The V Scholar concept was developed in 1994 to address that need. Today, this highly respected award is eagerly sought by young physicians and scientists at the nation’s leading cancer centers.
As with any patient, Jim discovered first-hand how slowly science progresses from the lab to the patient’s bedside. He wanted faster solutions, more progress and better answers. In 2001, eight years after his death, The V Foundation announced its Translational Research Grants, designed to accelerate laboratory findings with the goal of benefiting patients more quickly.
Although Jim lost his battle with cancer less than two months after delivering the ESPY speech, his dream to find cures lives on through research grants bestowed in his name. The V Foundation has awarded more than $150 million to more than 120 facilities nationwide and proudly awards 100% of direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs. Due to generous donors, The Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses.
The V Foundation has a strong presence in the scientific community, and it is guided by an elite, all-volunteer Scientific Advisory Committee, that recommends the research projects funded. The Committee is comprised of top physicians and research scientists from prominent universities and cancer centers throughout the country. Working with this team of talented professionals, we are proud to carry out Jim’s vision for the future.
Jim’s dream of finding cures for cancer is shared by millions. Although we have not yet achieved this goal, every day we get a little bit closer and continue to honor his inspiring words, “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!” ®
We ask you to join us. Make a donation. Get involved.
ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports
Dick Vitale is college basketball’s top analyst and ambassador. He joined ESPN, Inc. soon after a successful college and professional coaching career and the network’s inception in 1979.
Vitale has been a college basketball analyst for ABC Sports since 1988 and covered events such as the NBA Finals and the 1992 Summer Olympics for ABC Radio. He contributes to ESPN The Magazine and is a columnist for Basketball Times.
Vitale awards scholarships annually to the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota, Fl., and was inducted into Sarasota’s Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame in 2001. He is a member of advisory boards for the Harlem Globetrotters and the Henry Iba Citizen Awards. He participates on selection committees for the Naismith and Wooden Awards and is a member of the Associated Press voting panel for the Top 25 College Basketball Poll.
Vitale has authored nine books with his latest being a children’s title, Dickie V’s ABCs and 1-2-3s: A Great Start for Young Superstars (2010).
Vitale’s thorough knowledge of college basketball is brought forth in his commentary with an enthusiastic, passionate, sometimes controversial – but never boring – style. Vitale was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2008.