Supporters, Stars Gather to Honor Bo Ryan, Robin Roberts, Urban Meyer at 11th Annual Dick Vitale Gala

The V Foundation for Cancer Research, one of the nation’s leading cancer research funding organizations, and ESPN Hall of Fame Sportscaster Dick Vitale hosted the 11th Annual Dick Vitale Gala at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota in Florida.  In its 10-year history, the Dick Vitale Gala has raised more than $15 million for pediatric cancer research, boosting The V Foundation’s mission to end the leading cause of death by disease in American children.  This year’s event is projected to raise more than $2 million, setting a new fundraising record.

“All I can simply say is, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You … as I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the many people from all walks of life that helped us to raise more than $2 million for kids battling cancer,” said Vitale.  “The highlight for me was the presentation of two pediatric cancer research grants for $200,000 each by The V Foundation, in memory of Chad Carr and Julia Mounts, to help find a cure for this dreaded disease.”

The event was SOLD OUT, once again, with over 860 guests that gathered to honor ABC’s “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts, Ohio State University Head Football Coach UrbanMeyer and former University of Wisconsin Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bo Ryan for their continued efforts to help raise funds and awareness for cancer research.

NCAA Division I college basketball coaches in attendance included John Calipari (Kentucky), Bob Huggins (West Virginia), Sean Miller (Arizona), Mike Brey (Notre Dame), Steve Alford (UCLA), Mike White (Florida), Leonard Hamilton (Florida State),Frank Martin (South Carolina) and Bruce Pearl (Auburn).  Other notable figures in attendance included Michigan Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh, former Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr, two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and South Florida Head Football Coach Willie Taggart.  Figures from Major League Baseball included former Cincinnati Reds Star Chris Sabo, former World Series Champion pitcher Tom Neidenfuer and former Baltimore Oriole Brian Roberts. Numerous iconic figures and current players from the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball also attended the gala.

From the world of entertainment, Judy Landers of “The Love Boat” and “B.J. and the Bear” was among those present.  Many ESPN personalities also were in attendance including Emcee John Saunders and broadcasting personalities Chris Fowler, Dan Shulman, Seth Greenberg and Shannon Spake.  Also joining was former Super Bowl Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Monday Night Football Analyst Jon Gruden.    The gala included a “Celebrity Meet & Greet Private Party,” as well as after-party entertainment.

“Team Vitale is simply extraordinary. They reach out every day to the public for awareness and funds to help stop childhood cancer,” said Susan Braun, CEO of The V Foundation.  “They are true heroes in this fight.”

The 2016 Dick Vitale Gala fundraising was jumpstarted by a $100,000 donation from Taylor Swift earlier this year, which set the tone for the gala to have another record-breaking year.  All 1,500 raffle tickets for a custom 2016 Mercedes-Benz E400A quickly sold out before the event, with each ticket purchased for a suggested $100 minimum donation.  The V Foundation awards 100% of direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs.  Funds raised through the Dick Vitale Gala, as well as other partnerships and signature events, have allowed The V Foundation to award nearly $20 million in pediatric cancer research grants.  In 2016, The V Foundation awarded $5 million to pediatric research, with Dick leading the way as a true champion of research and fundraising.

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