The V Foundation for Cancer Research is successful thanks to the contributions of many – donors, corporate partners, our incredible Board and Scientific Advisory Committee and the amazing researchers to whom we award grants. With “In Their Own Words,” we sit down with key members of our team to learn more about their commitment to the V Foundation and their personal desire to put an end to cancer. In this edition, we chat with former Michigan State basketball player and current President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage.
The V Foundation: How has cancer affected you personally?
Mat Ishbia: Cancer has definitely affected me personally and has made a huge impact on my life, along with so many people that I know and love – from my father and others that have had cancer and beaten it, to other people I know who have not beaten it but fought hard. I’m grateful to be able to honor them and help in the fight against cancer in some small way.
TVF: You’ve pledged a generous donation to the V Foundation through Dick Vitale and his Pediatric Cancer Research Fund. Why did you decide to focus on pediatric cancer research?
MI: All cancer research is important but I have a special place in my heart for kids, so being able to make a contribution to help fight pediatric cancer was very important. I have three kids of my own and want to give every kid the opportunity to have an amazing life.
TVF: Speaking of Dick, how much did the passion and commitment he shows to the V Foundation play a role in you wanting to get involved?
MI: Dick Vitale is an icon in college basketball, and is doing amazing things through the V Foundation. His passion and energy are contagious, and his love for the game has made a big impact on so many people over the years, including me. He truly shows how much he cares about everything he does and I’m honored to be a small part of it all.
TVF: You were a member of the 2000 National Champion Michigan State Spartans basketball team. What life lessons did you learn playing for a leader like Tom Izzo?
MI: I learned so much playing basketball for Coach Izzo and from being around him for five awesome years. His work ethic, drive and compassion for people have made such a positive impact on my personal life and how I run my business at United Wholesale Mortgage. He is constantly working to get better every single day and doing the little things to show how much he cares. I had such a great experience at Michigan State and will never forget the family atmosphere he has created there.
TVF: What are the most important attributes someone needs to be successful in business?
MI: There is so much opportunity for someone to be successful if they have a positive attitude and great work ethic. Success is a choice, and we get to decide our work ethic and attitude every single day. Great things can happen if you stay positive, work hard and continue to set big goals.
TVF: What would Victory Over Cancer
® look like to you?
MI: Every inch we get closer to finding cures and being able to help people for the long term is Victory Over Cancer. But improving the quality of life for every person who has this horrible disease is a big victory as well and I hope my donation will help accelerate this in a small way.
A special thank you to Mat Ishbia for his generous contribution to the V Foundation, via the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Fund. Learn more about all the money raised for pediatric cancer research at Dick’s latest Gala.