The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, and ESPN Hall of Fame Sportscaster Dick Vitale announced the 15th Annual Dick Vitale Gala, previously scheduled for May, will take place on September 4, 2020, at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota in Florida. The health and well-being of event attendees and employees is the V Foundation’s number one priority during the COVID-19 situation.
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. Overall, the V Foundation has awarded nearly $50 million in pediatric research grants. 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.
“We are very sorry for the change of date, but we want to be careful about the pandemic caused by the COVID virus,” said Vitale. “The evening will still be a night filled with laughter, tears and thoughts. Yes, those are the three things that Jimmy V stated in his legendary “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”® speech. Please help us raise big dollars to help kids battling cancer. September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month and I know everyone will help deliver a slam dunk against children’s cancer on this special evening.”
In addition to hosting the event’s honorees, Vitale will celebrate his “All Courageous Team” of cancer patients. He will also 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.
“Postponing the Dick Vitale Gala to September allows us all to focus on the current COVID-19 health crisis, but still gives us an opportunity to support a critical need – research for children’s cancer,” said Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation. “We lose far too many children to cancer every year. Dick and Lorraine Vitale are so committed to stopping pediatric cancer and supporting young patients. We applaud their efforts to do so in the safest way possible.”
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 v.org/vitale. To purchase tickets, please call the Gala line at Mary Kenealy Events at (941) 350-0580.