Monday, December 20, 2010

Jimmy V

I seem to find palliative care topics everywhere. Most recently it was while watching basketball. Well, while my husband was watching basketball. The tournament he was watching on December 7th was the Jimmy V Basketball Classic. During the game they advertised Jimmy V Week. So it got me wondering, who was Jimmy V?

Jimmy V (or Jimmy Valvano) was a famous college basketball coach and sports broadcaster, known for being the head coach at North Carolina State University when they one the 1983 NCAA Basketball Tournament. (He is especially known for running around after that game, looking for someone to hug.) In 1992, he was diagnosed with bone cancer.

After his diagnosis he co-founded the V Foundation for Cancer Research with ESPN. Since it was founded in 1993, the V Foundation has raised more than $100 million for their cause.

Below is a famous ESPY Awards speech given by Valvano in 1993 (the very first ESPY awards) while receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. This speech was given just 8 weeks before he died. It was during this speech that Valvano announced the formation of the V Foundation. He ends this speech with, "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. And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you and God bless you all."

Sports stories are not my usual topic but when I saw the speech he gave, I knew it was a Pallimed Arts story. You could tell when he walked up onto the stage that he was not really doing well. But when he spoke, he had so much energy and humor that I found myself forgetting about the cancer.

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