Dick Vitale Continues as Champion of Research for Childhood Cancers
CARY, NC (February 4, 2021) – The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, is proud to announce it awarded over $5 million in 2020, and nearly $55 million to date, for pediatric cancer research through the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Fund. Dick Vitale is a long-time V Foundation board member and a passionate advocate for pediatric cancer research.
“My team and I are very proud of raising dollars for research grants that will help kids battling cancer,” said Vitale. “It is something that I am totally obsessed with, and I will continue to work 24/7 to reach out to those who are able to donate, because many, many more dollars are needed in the battle against this dreaded disease.”
Dick and his wife, Lorraine, energetically focus their fundraising efforts year-round on stopping childhood cancers. The Vitales have hosted an annual gala in Sarasota, FL, for 15 years. In 2020, they broke their own fundraising record, ensuring even more critical pediatric cancer research is funded. They continue to look forward and plan big for 2021. The 16th annual event has already seen three cars successfully raffled to support the cause – more than any other year. Vitale also donates proceeds from his online book sales and merchandise to the V Foundation. Beyond fundraising, Vitale also raises crucial awareness of the disease. As a sports icon, he is frequently heard telling stories of children affected by cancer during his broadcasts or posting to social media to gain even more support. His familiar phrases and unmatched energy have even landed him as an answer on a recent episode of the popular “Jeopardy!” game show.
“When it comes to champions for a cause, Dick is second to none,” said Shane Jacobson, chief executive officer of the V Foundation. “Along with Lorraine, the Vitales’ belief in the importance of pediatric cancer research occupies the intersection of passion, focus and mission. We are grateful for this longstanding and deeply meaningful partnership, and our team is better positioned to accelerate victory over cancer because of the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Fund and those who support it.”
Cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death for American children over one year old. In 2020, nearly 17,000 children ages 0-19 were diagnosed with cancer, and nearly 2,000 children died of cancer. The positive news is there are more than 400,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the U.S., and cure rates for most pediatric cancers have improved dramatically over the last 30 to 40 years. Private organizations like the V Foundation have become a vital part of pediatric cancer research, as a very small portion of federal cancer research dollars are currently allocated to studying it.
“On July 1, 2020, I was blessed to have been declared cancer-free and ring that victory bell,” said Mikari Tarpley, actress, student and cancer Thriver. “As much as I thank God, my family and the hospital staff, it is also the work and funding towards cancer research that is the reason for my healing. Pediatric cancer funding and research saved my life, and with more time and dedication, it will save so many more. Hopefully one day, the world will be rid of childhood cancers and all other aggressive illnesses. But until then we will keep fighting… with a smile of course. I am eternally grateful to you, Mr. Dick Vitale, for your organization and all that you are doing for the little people like me. It is truly amazing.”
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 Pediatric Cancer Fund, the 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 game-changing cancer research grants nationwide through a competitive process strictly supervised by a world-class Scientific Advisory Committee. Because the V Foundation has an endowment to cover administrative expenses, 100% of direct donations is awarded to cancer research and programs. The V team is committed to accelerating Victory Over Cancer®. To learn more, visit v.org.