Serving as the heartbeat of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, formed by ESPN and Jim in 1993, his words throughout the ESPY speech have never been more meaningful. After being diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 46, Jim dreamed of finding cures for cancer. Passionate and committed, he wanted to see his fight through to victory. As a former coach, he began to recruit his team of family and friends to lead the Foundation in his quest to eradicate the disease.
As a cancer patient, Jim recognized the need to invest in young physician/scientists to help establish their careers—after all, someone had invested in him early in his career! Addressing the need to help early-career cancer investigators develop into promising future research talents was the first goal of the Foundation. The V Scholar concept was developed in 1994 to address that need. Today, this highly respected award is eagerly sought by young physician/scientists at the nation’s leading cancer centers.
As with any patient, Jim discovered first-hand how slowly science progresses from the lab to the patient’s bedside. He wanted faster solutions, more progress and better answers. Eight years after his death, The V Foundation announced its Translational Research Grants, designed to accelerate laboratory findings with the goal of benefiting patients more quickly.
Although Jim lost his battle with cancer less than two months after delivering the ESPY speech, his dream of a cure lives on through research grants bestowed in his name. The V Foundation has awarded more than $100 million to more than 100 facilities nationwide and proudly awards 100% of direct donations and net event proceeds to cancer research.
A relatively young organization, The V Foundation has a strong presence in the scientific community. The Foundation is guided by an elite, all-volunteer Scientific Advisory Board who recommends the research projects funded. This Board is comprised of top physicians and research scientists from prominent universities and cancer centers throughout the country. Working with this team of talented professionals, we are proud to carry out Jim’s vision for the future.
Jim’s dream of finding a cure for cancer is one shared by millions. Although we have not yet achieved this goal, every day we get a little bit closer and will continue to honor his inspiring words, “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!” ®