July 18, 2014
21 years ago, legendary college basketball coach Jim Valvano made a memorable and heart-wrenching speech at the ESPYS. “Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.” He closed with the unforgettable “Never Give Up. Don’t Ever Give Up.” Jimmy V passed away just weeks later, but that night the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research was born. Over the past ten years, in conjunction with the annual ESPYS award show, eBay, ESPN and the Jimmy V Foundation have partnered in order to provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences and auctions – all to support cancer research.
This year, auctions included private rides on the Goodyear blimp, a cameo in a SportsCenter commercial and watching a Dallas Mavericks game with team owner Mark Cuban, and many more. As the final bids rolled in on Wednesday night, top athletes and celebrities gathered at the ESPYS to honor the best in sports and remember Jimmy V’s legacy.
I was lucky enough to represent eBay Giving Works at the event and meet some of the athletes and celebrities during my first-ever trip to the red carpet!
Besides getting to meet and mingle with sports greats such as Dr. J, Danica Patrick, Kevin Durant and the USA men's national soccer team, one of the biggest highlights for me was seeing cancer survivor Robin Roberts, who won last year’s Arthur Ashe Courage ESPY Award, playfully spar with boxing legends Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis.
I also got to chat with sports legends, sportscasters and actors who explained what the Jimmy V Foundation means to them. I was surprised how many of their answers were personal, raw and from the heart. Sports analyst Jon Barry talked about his niece, who is battling neuroblastoma, and how he fights for her.
Joe Theismann and Dr. J shared their personal memories of Jimmy V, and how they keep his memory alive by supporting the cause.
Lolo Jones shared that her brother is a cancer survivor, and Takeo Spikes supports the cause in honor of his father, who passed away from cancer.
It seems that everyone has a personal connection to cancer, and that’s why supporting organizations such as the V Foundation is so important. You can learn more about the V Foundation – and buy and sell on eBay to support cancer research – at http://bit.ly/1qFgfhA.
Written by: Sara Orrick
Sara Orrick is a Nonprofit Relationship Manager with eBay Giving Works. Sara attended the ESPYS and interviewed athletes and celebrities who support the V Foundation.