Friday night in Sarasota, Florida was very special. The Ritz-Carlton was the sports capital of the world. The 11th annual Dickie V gala raised over $2.5 million for pediatric cancer research.
Our honorees, Robin Roberts of Good Morning America, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and former Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan all have passionate speeches about how cancer has affected their lives. Roberts is a cancer survivor who publicly detailed her fight against the dreaded disease.
Everywhere you turned, there were stars from the world of sports, of television, or media. I cannot thank everyone enough.
Jim Harbaugh, Nik Wallenda, Jon Gruden, Nick Bollettieri, Brian Roberts. College basketball was well represented with numerous coaches, including Kentucky's John Calipari, Mike Brey of Notre Dame, Steve Alford of UCLA, Sean Miller of Arizona, Frank Martin of South Carolina, West Virginia's Bob Huggins, Bruce Pearl of Auburn, Leonard Hamilton of Florida State, Orlando Antigua of South Florida, and Dave Pilipovich of Air Force.
It was an evening filled with passion and emotion. We gave two $200,000 grants for cancer research in honor of the late Julia Mount, a multi-talented youngster who recently lost her battle with cancer, and Chad Carr. Former Michigan football coach lloyd Carr spoke on behalf of the family.
For those who wonder if cancer research can make a difference, we presented our All-Courageous team, 10 children who have survived and resumed more normal activities. These youngsters are so special and have been through so much.
Cancer has affected so many. It affects the kids and the families. That is why I am so passionate in this fight. I have seen so many people hurt in this battle. I have also seen the positives. We must continue to raise money for research to discover more breakthroughs.
My friends, it was total teamwork raising those kind of dollars. I cannot thank the sponsors enough. I cannot thank Mary Kenealy, Janet Allen and their team that helps run the event. Then there are the celebrities, who pay their own way to the Ritz-Carlton for a special evening.
Jimmy V said, "don't give up, don't ever give up." I will fight until my last breath to help these children. You can help in the fight against cancer too. Call 1-800-4-JIMMYV. Donate and help us win this war.