NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano waits for the 1983 National Championship banner to unfurl in Reynolds Coliseum before a game in the Fall of 1983. © Roger W Winstead

$5.2 Million Raised for Cancer Research Including $2 Million for Prostate Cancer Research at 18th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration

The V Foundation for Cancer Research’s annual fundraiser, The V Wine Celebration, garnered more than $5 million for cancer research August 4-7. With a $500,000 matching grant from the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the total included more than $2 million in “fund-a-need” donations to support prostate cancer research.


Hosted by CBS and HBO sports commentator and V Foundation board member Lesley Visser, the event brought attendees from all over the country to Napa Valley to benefit the Foundation’s efforts to support cutting-edge cancer research at major institutions. Over the past 17 years, The V Wine Celebration has raised more than $68 million, and funds have helped the Foundation provide 600 cancer research grants nationwide. Visser reminded the audience, “It comes down to one sentence: Dollars equal research equal cure.”


The V Wine Celebration weekend included a series of events. Friday night, guests attended intimate winery dinners at B Cellars, Odette Estate, Staglin Family Vineyard and Vineyard 7 & 8. Also on Friday, members of the Giving Club attended the Presidents Club & Vintner Grant Honoree Luncheon, sponsored by Bentley Motors at Raymond Vineyards, where the Vintner Grant honorees and owners of Vineyard 7 &8, Launny and Weezie Steffens, were recognized for their continued support of The V Foundation. Both cancer survivors, Launny credited their health with catching it early and recommended early screening. He also said, he had “been told by a lot of doctors we talked to that the excessive amount of red wine we drink was probably helpful.” The V Foundation announced it will make a grant in the Steffens’ name to The Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai, to help launch a research study on prostate cancer.


The weekend’s activities culminated with a gala dinner and live auction Saturday night at Nickel & Nickel, which has served as home of The V Wine Celebration for the last 12 years. The gala kicked off with a tribute video celebrating the powerful and passionate acceptance speech by Jimmy Valvano that has inspired millions. George Bodenheimer, retired president and executive chairman of ESPN, recognized V Foundation president emeritus (and Jimmy Valvano’s brother) Nick Valvano in the audience and introduced a video of Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he was at the Olympics. And special guest speaker, football legend and sportscaster Joe Theismann spoke about his friend Jim Valvano and why he supports The V Foundation. To this day, Theismann carries a copy of Valvano’s speech in his briefcase.


V Foundation CEO Susan Braun announced a collaboration with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, whose president and CEO, Dr. Jonathan Simons, an internationally recognized physician-scientist, oncologist and acclaimed investigator in translational prostate cancer research, kicked off the fund-a-need with a $500,000 matching grant. Braun also announced a $400,000 grant from T.K. and Ginger Wetherell, which has already been dedicated to research targeting cancer, including prostate, with genetically engineered poliovirus at Duke University Medical Center. Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, which contributed more than $125,000 this year, also pledged a $500,000 commitment over the next five years to The V Foundation.


For more information about the 2016 event, call 707-963-0611 or visit The 19th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration will be held August 3-6, 2017.

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 funded more than $150 million in cancer research grants nationwide. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from events support all the work of The V Foundation. Due to generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process vetted by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit



The V Foundation Wine Celebration is a world-class wine event and auction benefiting The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Set in Napa Valley, the heart of California Wine Country, this annual special event brings together 500 prominent members of the sports broadcasting, entertainment, media, lifestyle, technology, investment, medical and winemaking worlds to raise money to fund vital research in the fight against all types of cancer. The V Wine Celebration has helped fund 600 research programs at medical and research facilities across the country. Dedicated to giving back to the generous Napa Valley and surrounding communities that have so enthusiastically embraced it, the Foundation has included many Bay Area institutions among its grantees, including St. Helena Hospital, Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Stanford University and UC San Francisco. Founded by Julie Allegro, The V Foundation Wine Celebration has grown to be to one of the top-rated charitable auctions in the country. For more information on The V Foundation Wine Celebration, please visit