Where we started, where we are, and where we want to be: 20th Anniversary Book
It is hard to believe that is has been 20 years since Valvano took the stage at the ESPYsand announced the formation of The V Foundation. The people who watched the speech first-hand often remark that the time has flown by. Indeed it has. But it is important to remember exactly what has happened in these past 20 years. The V Foundation has created a 20th Anniversary book that represents where we started, where we are, and where we want to be.
The book highlights how the idea of the Foundation came to be and shares stories from Jim’s closest friends. Friends like Mike Krzyzewski comment, “Jimmy formed The V Foundation during the last couple months of his life. We would laugh, joke and cry at the hospital together. One night he said, “I want to try to fund cancer research; I want you to be on my team!” He recruited me during that time. His wisdom and his ability to think beyond his life was incredible.”
One of my favorite pages is the one that asks some of Board of Directors what they think Jim would say about the Foundation. They almost all agree that he would say, “You’re not doing enough! Raise more money!” Well lucky for us, we feel the same way and continue to try our best to fund even more researchers.
The V Foundation had a humble beginning. Much of what we started with remains today. Our Board of Directors contains the same team Jim recruited and we have had added even more supporters. From funding our first researchers, The V Foundation can happily say that our $100 million investment in researchers has leveraged more than $1 billion in additional funding. In 2012, we awarded $14.6 million in grants compared to the $229,000 we were able to give in 1995.
Although The V Foundation has had a successful past 20 years, we are hoping that the next can bring even more success. We want to be able to fund more researchers, and gain more supporters. We need the Valvano’s generation to Pass The V. The concept is simple- the feelings people experienced while watching the speech were unparalleled. We need those supporters to pass the feeling and the message of Jim Valvano to the next generation. In order to keep the success we have, we need Jim’s story, mission, and goal to transpire far into the future.
Many pages of the book will draw your attention- reading some of the stories may even make you cry. However, I want everyone to take a look at one of the last pages titled a world without cancer. A world without cancer will be the ultimate victory for Valvano and The V Foundation team.
We know that Jim would be proud of all that his Foundation has achieved. And he would be happy to know that we are not giving up. Perhaps the speech that resonates close with everyone is when Jim said, “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week; you’re going to have something special. ” We encourage everyone to do that each day. In many ways, the Foundation that bears Jim’s name brings these words to life.
Check out the book here.