Research Grants Remember Children Who Lost Their Battle with Cancer

The V Foundation for Cancer Research Will Award $750,000 in Pediatric Cancer Research Grants at Dick Vitale Gala 

The V Foundation for Cancer Research is pleased to announce that two pediatric cancer research grants will be awarded at the 6th Annual Dick Vitale Gala. These grants will bear the names of three children: Lucy Webber, Johnny Teis and Adrian Littlejohn, who recently lost their lives to cancer. The Gala will be held on Friday, May 20, 2011, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Sarasota, Florida. 

Dick Vitale GalaThe V Foundation for Cancer Research Will Award $750,000 in Pediatric Cancer Research Grants at Research Grants Remember Children Who Lost Their Battle with Cancer

A grant for $500,000 will be awarded to Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, and will be named in memory of Lucy Weber and Johnny Teis.  A grant of $250,000 will be awarded to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, and will honor Adrian Littlejohn.

Lucy was the daughter of Brian and Bev Weber of Shawnee, Kansas.  She died at the age of 18 months last November.  Johnny was the son of Rob and Amanda Teis of Gravette, Arkansas, and passed away on April 21 at the age of 8.  Adrian passed away on May 1 at age 15 months and was the son of Ivette and Anthony Littlejohn of Sarasota, Florida.

“It is an honor that this year’s Gala will celebrate the memory of three beautiful children,” said Vitale.  “I hope that the research funded in their names will someday help other kids faced with this dreaded disease, and keep Lucy, Johnny and Adrian’s stars shining brightly in future years.  The families were overwhelmed when we called to tell them that The V Foundation CEO, Nick Valvano, had agreed to name pediatric research grants in their memory.  Research is a must to help save kids battling cancer.”

The Gala will also celebrate two children who have survived cancer and gone on to share their happiness with others.  Attending the Gala will be Darren Shanks of San Diego, California, and Tatum Parker of Indianapolis, Indiana.   Both Darren and Tatum will be recognized with a special award at the event.

During Darren’s fight against a form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, he was granted a wish by the Make a Wish Foundation.  After receiving a get-well poster from his high school football teammates, Darren put aside personal requests and “wished” for new uniforms for his high school football team, which was still wearing uniforms purchased in 1984.  Darren’s unselfish request was granted through the generosity of Nike.

Tatum is a two-time survivor of Ewings Sarcoma.  Soon after being diagnosed, she received a “Bag of Fun” filled with toys and activities from the Gabby Krause Foundation.  The bag helped Tatum get through the long days.  It is now her wish that all children battling cancer receive their very own Bag of Fun and is working to make this happen for other children with cancer.

“We are extremely proud of the work being done at Moffitt Cancer Center and All Children’s Hospital,” said Nick Valvano, CEO of The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  “Both institutions are making advances to help children like Darren and Tatum beat this terrible disease and continue to help others.”

Tickets for the event are sold out.  For additional information and to make donations to the named research grants, please call 1-800-4JimmyV or visit  Mention Vitale Gala in the comment-line.

Editor’s note: For media credentials to the event, please contact Sherrie Mazur, at [email protected] or 919-380-9505.

About The V Foundation
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $100 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. Administrative and fundraising expenses are paid by the Foundation’s endowment. The Foundation awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit