ESPN’s 2016 Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research celebrated its 10th year and set a new record, raising more than $3.8 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research – more than $600,000 over last year’s total. This year’s campaign ran from Nov. 30-Dec. 9. Over the past 10 years, Jimmy V Week fundraising totals over $17.6 million for cancer research.
As a result of the awareness ESPN’s programming has brought the V Foundation to sponsors and sport fans, the Goldberg Family, BRCA Foundation and Basser Initiative at the Gray Foundation were inspired to make a $3 million challenge during the Jimmy V Men’s Classic on Dec. 6, which aims to be matched by the V Foundation in 2017. The commitment will fund further study of BRCA genes that, when mutated, can increase individuals risk of cancer.
Over $300,000 was raised for the John Saunders Grant for Pediatric Cancer Research including a $100,000 grant from ESPN. The John Saunders grant was established in memory of the late ESPN anchor and founding V Foundation board member, John Saunders, who suddenly passed away on Aug. 10, 2016.
“ESPN had a record breaking year, as the programming around V Week continues to resonate with fans who understand the urgency of finding a cure for cancer,” said Kevin Martinez, ESPN vice president of Corporate Citizenship. “There was a 42 percent increase in direct donations by fans who are inspired by Jim Valvano’s speech and the incredible stories of cancer patients and caregivers.”
“The V Foundation is delighted with the reach and fundraising success of V Week,” said Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation. “Everyone at ESPN and each person who watched and made a donation contributed to that success! And ultimately, the winner is cancer research, which is the means of saving lives. Our deep gratitude to all!”
The week opened with the annual simulcast of Jim Valvano’s iconic 1993 ESPYS speech across ESPN networks, with excerpts from other exceptional ESPY speeches from Robin Roberts, Craig Sager and Stuart Scott. Integration on Monday Night Football, NBA on ESPN and college sports programming, plus features, vignettes and testimonials, public service announcements and social media activation to drive donations.
The campaign included the annual Jimmy V Women’s and Men’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona – featuring four-time defending national champion UConn defeating then-No.14 Texas 74-52 on December 4, as well as four top men’s programs in the men’s event on December 6 – then-No. 17 Purdue topping Arizona State 97-64 and then-No. 21 Florida falling 84-74 to then-No. 5 Duke.
On top of the generosity of individual donors, more than one million dollars was presented at the Jimmy V Men’s & Women’s Basketball Classics from Corona, Hooters, WWE and the New York Road Runners which helped push the total well over $3 million.