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V Foundation Wine Celebration Teams Up with ESPN in V for Victory Television Event

The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, and ESPN announce V for Victory, a one-hour television special hosted by ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi and Hannah Storm, on August 8 at 2:00 p.m. EST on ABC as part of the Wine Celebration’s 2020 virtual event. Now, more than ever, cancer patients and survivors need our help. V for Victory will shine a light on cancer survivor stories and the urgency to support cancer research during the COVID-19 pandemic and support the V Foundation’s mission to achieve Victory Over Cancer®.

“We’re delighted to present V for Victory as an inspirational component of this year’s virtual Wine Celebration,” said Julie Maples, Chairwoman of the V Foundation Wine Celebration and V Foundation Board Member. “Our sincerest gratitude goes to our founding partner, ESPN, for standing shoulder to shoulder with us as we take on – and defeat – cancer.”

Through feature storytelling and discussion, the special will highlight the power and hope of cancer survivor stories from the sports world and the critical nature of supporting cancer research in this moment. SportsCenter Anchor Hannah Storm and ESPN College Basketball Analyst Jay Bilas will be joined by award-winning journalist and Stand Up To Cancer Co-founder, Katie Couric, to conduct interviews with special guests.

“The V Foundation is a vital part of ESPN’s culture and is saving lives,” said Kerry Callahan, ESPN Producer of V for Victory. “The V for Victory show demonstrates ESPN’s commitment to generating awareness for the V Foundation and the V Scholar program, as these researchers are on the frontline.”

Elements within V for Victory will include:

  • The stories of University of Minnesota football player Casey O’Brien, a 5-time cancer survivor; and Leah Still, former NFL player Devon Still’s daughter, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma in 2014 at the age of four.
  • A reflection on the late Stuart Scott and the importance of the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund.
  • An interview with Katie Couric and Dr. Bill Nelson, the head of the V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee from Johns Hopkins.
  • A discussion with Jay Bilas, Duke Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski and NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson on Jim Valvano, their time on the court together and their shared mission as V Foundation Board Members.
  • A message from LeBron James to Leah Still congratulating her on 5-year cancer-free mark.
  • ESPN CBB Analyst Dick Vitale’s own memories of Jim Valvano and why carrying on Jim’s mission through the V Foundation is so important.
  • A musical performance by multi-platinum singer and songwriter Andy Grammer.

“Like elite athletes and sports stars, the best young cancer researchers have been sidelined briefly by the coronavirus epidemic,” said Nelson, Chair of the V Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee and Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Now, these innovative scientists are ready to get back into the game. With your support, the V Foundation can provide these V Scholars the funds they need for Victory Over Cancer®!”

V for Victory is a new element of this year’s V Foundation Wine Celebration. Since 1999, the V Foundation Wine Celebration has raised over $115 million for cancer research and related programs. The annual fundraising event in Napa Valley demonstrates that commitment, passion and giving become the catalysts for positive change. For registered guests of the virtual Wine Celebration, the event will be a fully immersive, digital experience featuring one-of-a-kind auction items, surprise celebrity and musical appearances, as well as the chance to raise a glass with fellow guests.

The Wine Celebration’s Fund-A-Need will raise critical dollars for V Scholar Grants awarded to innovative, young scientists. In addition to focusing on general research, V Scholar Grants have special areas of emphasis. Two areas of emphasis are pediatric cancer research and cancer disparities. Pediatric research is championed through the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund. The Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund is a groundbreaking initiative that funds outstanding minority V Scholars and also research that explores the biology behind why some cancers are more likely to occur, more aggressive or harder to treat in some minority populations.

As COVID-19 has interrupted and delayed research while increasing expected costs for new labs, V Scholar funds become even more important to advancing research in all fields of cancer research.

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.

About ESPN

ESPN, Inc., is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment enterprise featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. It is comprised of nine U.S. 24-hour television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network, SEC Network and the ACC Network; five with HD simulcast services – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes). Other businesses include direct-to-consumer video service ESPN+, ESPN Audio (broadcast, satellite, digital, podcasts), an array of digital services (ESPN.com and many other sites, ESPN App, fantasy games and more), multi-screen ESPN3, ESPN International (26 networks, syndication, radio, digital), consumer products, ESPN Events and espnW. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Hearst holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

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. Since 1993, 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 awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit v.org.