16th Annual Dick Vitale Gala Raises Over $5M for Pediatric Cancer Research
Event Supports Dick Vitale Fund for Pediatric Cancer at the V Foundation for Cancer Research
Cary, NC [May 07, 2021] — 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 16th Annual Dick Vitale Gala has raised $5 million for pediatric cancer research. Held on May 7 at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, the Gala hosted supporters and celebrities to further groundbreaking advancements in childhood cancer research. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American children over one year old.
“I am ecstatic over the support we have received during this challenging year,” said Vitale. “We are proud to have hosted some big-time celebrities and honorees. On behalf of my team at Mary Kenealy Events and my wife Lorraine, I can’t tell you how appreciative we are of so many people that help kids battling cancer. Through the generosity of our sponsors and supporters, we have now raised over $40 million through the Gala.”
This year’s event honored former University of Notre Dame Women’s Head Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw, University of Florida Head Football Coach Dan Mullen, Auburn University Men’s Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl and ESPN “SportsCenter” Anchor Scott Van Pelt. Vitale also recognized ESPN Senior NFL Analyst Chris Mortensen with the John Saunders V Foundation Courage Award. The night’s festivities included the announcement of winners from three sold-out raffles. Two winners took home a 2021 Mercedes-Benz and one won a 2021 BMW convertible.
“Our fight to achieve victory over pediatric cancer just took another big step forward,” said V Foundation Chief Executive Officer Shane Jacobson. “We deeply appreciate Dick Vitale’s passion for elevating resources in support of our youngest cancer patients and thank our honorees for their commitment to our mission. Tonight, our donors responded with impressive gifts, and we proved yet again that we are truly one team in our fight against cancer.”
Vitale continues to recruit celebrities in the fight against cancer, drawing dozens of stars to Sarasota for the event. Personalities in attendance included ESPN “SportsCenter” Anchor Kevin Negandhi; Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians; former Notre Dame football coach and sports analyst Lou Holtz; Baylor Men’s Head Basketball Coach Scott Drew; University of Texas basketball star Andrew Jones; professional aerialists, daredevils and acrobats Nik and Erendira Wallenda; ESPN Play-by-Play Commentator Rich Hollenberg; WWE superstar Titus O’Neil; Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Kyle Trask; and ESPN Announcer Chris Fowler.
Pediatric cancers occur in children and adolescents from 0-19 years old. While adults and children do share some cancer types, they are not treated for the disease in the same way. Because children are smaller and often still growing, they face unique challenges when diagnosed with cancer. More than 15,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed each year with cancer in the U.S. The number of children who die every year from cancer has decreased over the last 40+ years, but nearly 2,000 children still die from cancer each year. The V Foundation has awarded more than $55 million for research through the Dick Vitale Fund for Pediatric Cancer.
The V Foundation holds 10 consecutive 4-star (highest) ratings from Charity Navigator, America’s largest evaluator of charities, making the Foundation among the top 2% of all charities evaluated. The V Foundation is also a GuideStar Platinum-rated charity.
For more information about the V Foundation, the Dick Vitale Gala or to donate, please visit v.org.
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 V Foundation has funded more than $260 million in cancer research grants nationwide. Event proceeds benefit cancer research funded by the V Foundation. The Foundation awards game-changing grants through a competitive process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation, please visit v.org.