Wednesday, July 16, 2014
What IS the V-Foundation? Their website is here. It's more than their motto, "Don't give up, don't ever give up".
It's a venture started with ESPN and Jim Valvano, a former college basketball coach, commentator, and cancer victim. The V-Foundation grants money to scientists that find new ways to lengthen people's lives, through new treatments, medicines, and procedures. The ultimate goal is to cure the cancer, but until then, providing the resources for research and development is essential. It was inspired by Valvano and his personality and enabled by the behemoth television network. It was announced at the inaugural ESPY Awards, where Jim was receiving the first Arthur Ashe Courage & Humanitarian Award. The speech that followed is known throughout the sports universe as one of the most famous and touching in history. You can see it here. If you never took the time to hear it, do it now....
One guy, with an admittedly huge presence and a really great partner, was able to start a foundation that, as of 2014, has given over $115 million since 1993. He has made a difference in the lives of many people, young and old, crossing all races and income levels. Pretty cool stuff.
The story doesn't end there though.
Jim only lived a few months after the announcement. His cancer had advanced and he knew his time was limited. His family and friends have stepped in to further Jim's battle against this horrific enemy. Progress has been made and will continue. Many people have contributed to this pursuit, but the first that comes to mind is Dick Vitale.
Many people would know Dickie V from his colorful, loud, and passionate commentating. Basketball is his life and it shows. He's AWESOME baby! The game might be dull, but with Vitale talking, it's way more entertaining. Dick was good friends to Jim Valvano and when the diagnosis came in, Dick stepped up and became a promoter. He has been the voice of the V-Foundation since the start and his boundless energy and enthusiasm has helped further the cause. Any time you have Vitale on your side, the battle is half-won already. His website is here. Interesting stuff on there, check it out.
ESPN devotes a whole day every year to promote the V-Foundation by offering up auction items that all sports fans would dream of. Tours of the ESPN campus is on most bucket lists, visiting the Monday Night Football announcing booth during a game, going to the Super Bowl, attending the Rose Bowl, all are auctioned off to the benefit of the foundation. I've already figured in many of these trips once the lottery picks the RIGHT numbers!
What's the point of even bringing up this, possibly obscure (if you don't watch sports) organization? Even if you aren't an ESPN-watcher, the story of how a man and a company join forces to fight evil is a good one for anybody to enjoy.
I wouldn't bet against them.