Chris Fowler, Avery Johnson and Dabo Swinney to be Honored at 14th Annual Dick Vitale Gala

Event to Fund Cutting-Edge Pediatric Cancer Research
BY The V Foundation
PUBLISHED February 18, 2019
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 will be held on May 10 at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota in Florida. Vitale is a true champion for pediatric cancer research, evidenced by his Gala raising $25 million to date. This year’s event will honor ESPN broadcaster Chris Fowler, University of Alabama Men’s Basketball Head Coach Avery Johnson and Clemson University Football Head Coach Dabo Swinney. Additionally, Tyler Trent will be honored through a grant made in his memory.

"Once again, we have put together a superstar group of honorees,” said Vitale. “How lucky we are that we will have Coach Swinney, Coach Johnson and ESPN’s Chris Fowler. I’m also excited to keep the spirit and memory of John Saunders alive through the John Saunders V Foundation Courage Award, which will go to two very special guests.”
 
Recruiting some of the biggest names in sports to his event each year, Vitale continues to build the support needed to defeat pediatric cancer. Just four percent of federal cancer research funding is dedicated to pediatric cancer. Private funding is critical to propelling research for this leading cause of death by disease in American children. Vitale leads the V Foundation’s pediatric cancer research initiative with this annual Gala. Last year, Vitale’s event raised $3.7 million and inspired countless others to support the cause. The V Foundation has awarded $40 million in pediatric research grants.
 
This year, Vitale and the V Foundation are excited to honor three notable sports figures. Fowler, a leading ESPN broadcaster, is one of the most respected play-by-play commentators in television, appearing on many of ESPN’s marquee properties, primarily in college football and Grand Slam tennis. Johnson is a well-respected college coach, former ESPN analyst and decorated NBA coach and player. He led the San Antonio Spurs to the 1999 NBA title and was the 2006 NBA Coach of the Year. Losing both of his parents to cancer, Johnson is a long-time fundraiser and supporter of cancer research. Swinney, who recently led Clemson to its second college football national championship with a 15-0 season, fiercely advocates for breast cancer after losing his sister-in-law to the disease.
 
“The room will be alive with the passion to achieve Victory Over Cancer®,” said Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation. “So many advocates, supporters, fans and loved ones come together at the Vitale Gala to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. Children’s cancer is a tough opponent, and together we will beat it! Many thanks to the honorees and to Dick and Lorraine Vitale for making it happen!”

In addition to honoring his All-Star team of cancer patients, Vitale will recognize two special guests with the John Saunders V Foundation Courage Award. ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe and ESPN analyst and longtime college football coach Lee Corso will be this year’s honorees. This award is given to inspirational individuals using their voice to raise awareness and funding for cancer research.
 
The V Foundation has proudly awarded more than $225 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 14th Annual Dick Vitale Gala, please visit www.jimmyv.org/vitale. To purchase tickets, please call the Gala line at 941-350-0580.
 
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 Foundation has funded more than $225 million in cancer research grants nationwide. Event proceeds benefit cancer research funded by the V Foundation. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org
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