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 14th Annual Dick Vitale Gala raised more than $4.3 million for pediatric cancer research. Held in Sarasota, Fla., the Gala hosted hundreds of supporters and celebrities to further groundbreaking advancements in childhood cancer research while celebrating this year’s Gala honorees. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American children. Throughout the years, the V Foundation has awarded more $40 million to benefit pediatric cancer research.
“Once again, we are so excited about the enthusiasm for the Gala to raise funds for pediatric cancer research,” said Dick Vitale. “We had an outstanding cast of honorees this year, with Dabo Swinney, Avery Johnson and Chris Fowler and our John Saunders V Foundation Courage Award recipients Lee Corso and Holly Rowe. There were so many inspirational stories we heard at this event. It was a very special night to fundraise for kids battling cancer.”
This year’s sold-out event honored ESPN broadcaster Chris Fowler, former NBA and College Head Coach and NBA Championship player Avery Johnson and Clemson University Football Head Coach Dabo Swinney.
Vitale continues to recruit celebrities in the fight against cancer, drawing dozens of stars to Sarasota for the event. Personalities in attendance included Auburn University Men’s Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl; Florida State University Men’s Basketball Coach Leonard Hamilton; North Carolina State University Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Keatts; and University of Georgia Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Crean. Other notable personalities in attendance included V Foundation Board Member and former ESPN President George Bodenheimer; V Foundation Board Member and member of Jim’s 1983 National Championship Team Dereck Whittenburg; ESPN talent Dan Shulman; former Notre Dame Men’s Basketball Coach and ESPN announcer Digger Phelps; and sportswriter Bob Ryan.
“Progress in children’s cancer research gets tremendous fuel due to Dick and Lorraine Vitale’s passion,” said Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation. “Every family touched by pediatric cancer should gain great hope knowing they are on the case!”
During the Gala, Vitale, Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President, and the V Foundation announced a grant to be named in memory of Tyler Trent. The grant will be funded through a joint effort with Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation (CKc). CKc added $100,000 to the funds raised by the V Foundation through a two-week #MatchforTyler campaign. The grant will support research in the area of adolescent and young adult cancers in remembrance of Trent’s “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”® spirit.
“This special evening, led by Dick and Lorraine Vitale, is a wonderful reflection of the spirit and culture of ESPN,” said Pitaro. “The honorees and the stories of courage and hope are inspiring and memorable, and at the same time, millions of dollars were raised for critically important pediatric cancer research. As a proud V Foundation Board member, I’m fortunate to personally witness how incredibly impactful the collaborative, year-round efforts of ESPN and the Foundation truly can be.”
Vitale also recognized two special guests with the John Saunders V Foundation Courage Award. ESPN talents Holly Rowe and Lee Corso were honored for their dedication to raising awareness and funds for cancer research. The V Foundation has proudly awarded more than $225 million to 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 Foundation is a GuideStar Platinum charity.