Mark Few, Stephen A. Smith, Bruce Arians to be Honored at 15th Annual Dick Vitale Gala
The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, and ESPN Hall of Fame Sportscaster Dick Vitale are pleased to announce the 15th Annual Dick Vitale Gala will be held May 8 at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota in Florida. Vitale is a true champion for pediatric cancer research, raising nearly $30 million to date for the pediatric fund in his name at the V Foundation. This year’s event will honor Gonzaga University Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mark Few, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians.
“Jimmy V, in his famous ESPY speech, stated that every day you should be moved to tears, laughter and thought,” said Vitale. “I will guarantee that at the Gala on May 8, the crowd of over 900 will feel all of those emotions. It is such a spectacular night, as I love watching our guest celebrities mingle with everyone, and especially when they share time with my ALL COURAGEOUS TEAM, which features a number of youngsters who are cancer survivors. My heart fills with joy seeing the generosity and kindness of all those who participate and make our event such a special night.”
Each year, Vitale recruits the biggest names in sports and entertainment to his event, raising the awareness and support needed to defeat pediatric cancer. Just four percent of federal cancer research funding is dedicated to pediatric cancer. Private funding is critical to propelling research for this leading cause of death by disease in American children. Vitale leads the V Foundation’s pediatric cancer research initiative with this annual Gala. The V Foundation has awarded nearly $50 million in pediatric research grants.
This year, Vitale and the V Foundation are excited to honor three notable sports figures. Few, a successful coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball, has led Gonzaga to the 2018 national championship game, three Elite Eight appearances and nine Sweet 16 appearances. Smith is a sports journalist and the featured commentator on ESPN’s “First Take,” offering his unique perspectives on the world of sports and much more. Arians is a two-time recipient of the NFL Coach of the Year award and has a well-earned reputation of pushing his teams to success.
In addition to honoring his All Courageous Team of cancer patients, Vitale will recognize two special guests with the 2020 John Saunders V Foundation Courage Award. Pat Williams, basketball Hall of Famer, co-founder of the NBA’s Orlando Magic and former general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly will be this year’s honorees.
Best-selling author Mitch Albom will be a special guest of the event. A pediatric cancer research grant will be named in memory of Chika Jeune, for whom Albom was a guardian. She was born three days before the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and lived in an orphanage Albom operates in Port-au-Prince. At five years old, she was diagnosed with DIPG, an inoperable brain tumor, which began a two-year, around-the-world journey by Albom and his wife to find a cure.
“We need to find cures for cancer; and we need to save our children,” said Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation for Cancer Research. “No one knows this better than Dick and Lorraine Vitale. Their work with the V Foundation is legendary, inspiring hope in all.”
The V Foundation has proudly awarded more than $250 million for cutting-edge cancer research. The V Foundation holds a 4-star (highest) rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest evaluator of charities, and is among the top 3% of all charities evaluated. The V Foundation is a GuideStar platinum-rated charity.
For more information about the 15th Annual Dick Vitale Gala, please visit www.v.org/vitale. To purchase tickets, please call the Gala line at (941) 350-0580.
About the V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The Foundation has funded more than $250 million in cancer research grants nationwide. Event proceeds benefit cancer research funded by the V Foundation. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive award process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.v.org.