Jimmy V Week Showcases Effort to Raise Awareness for Cancer Research Dec. 2-8

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Jimmy V Week Showcases Effort to Raise Awareness for Cancer Research Dec. 2-8

Week-Long Initiative Features Special Content across Multiple ESPN Platforms

Jimmy_V_Week_BW_Neg In an average week, more than 28,000 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer, and approximately 10,800 will die from the disease (source: based on National Cancer Institute statistics).

Through the third annual Jimmy V Week initiative and the inspiring words of the late Jim Valvano, ESPN will shine a week-long spotlight on making a difference against the disease that strikes one of every two men and one of every three women in the United States (source: NCI). From Wednesday, Dec. 2 to Tuesday, Dec. 8, Jimmy V Week will feature special content across multiple ESPN platforms and programs to drive awareness of and donations to The V Foundation for Cancer Research. In the first two years, Jimmy V Week has raised more than $1.4 million in net proceeds for cancer research.

Jimmy V Week will launch Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. ET with a simulcast of Valvano’s 1993 ESPYs Awards speech across ESPN’s U.S. media platforms. On ESPN2, prior to the speech, a show entitled Jimmy V’s Team: Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up!®, will be aired at 6:30 p.m. and will feature highlights of Valvano’s story; his daughter Jamie and her fight against cancer; comments from celebrities at V Foundation fundraising events and remarks by researchers.

The week will conclude with the Jimmy V Women’s Basketball Classic on Monday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. (Florida at Rutgers on ESPN2) and on Tuesday, Dec. 8 with the Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic doubleheader from Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. (No. 10 Butler vs. No. 19 Georgetown) and 9 p.m. (Indiana vs. Pittsburgh).

“Jim’s speech continues to resonate for all audiences and to inspire us to do more to beat this disease,” said George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports. “I’m proud of our employees’ efforts across the company and the many contributions of our fans. This is really Team ESPN and our slogan Fans Helping Fans in action.”

Jimmy V Week content will be incorporated into studio programs and event telecasts across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN.com, ESPN360.com, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic and ESPN Mobile. Details include:


  • A special open on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. featuring Valvano’s 1993 ESPYs speech aired simultaneously across multiple entities;
  • Jimmy V’s Team, a half-hour show on ESPN2 on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m.;
  • Jim Valvano-themed marathon on ESPN Classic;
  • Special elements – including features, vignettes and public service announcements — during game and studio programming across numerous ESPN platforms;
  • Special guest interviews on ESPNEWS;
  • Student-athlete interstitials about how cancer has touched their lives on ESPNU;
  • Multiple chat sessions and special content on ESPN.com;
  • Special updates and user comments on various ESPN and V Foundation Facebook and Twitter pages;
  • Elements in ESPN The Magazine and Rise publications;
  • Special graphics, including a Jimmy V Week logo.

Other special efforts:

  • Referees donating a portion of their one-day salary to the V Foundation’s Blow the Whistle on Cancer Campaign®;
  • The V Foundation’s efforts with outreach on its web site (www.jimmyv.org) such as “Share Your Stories” about Jim Valvano, the personal effect of his speech on others and individuals’ battle against cancer.

Simultaneous Launch Across Multiple Entities

A special Jimmy V Week open featuring a complete presentation of Jim Valvano’s speech at the 1993 ESPYs will be aired across 11 ESPN media outlets as well as the ABC SuperSign in Times Square and every television in the Nokia Plaza in the Los Angeles LA Live complex Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. ET. ESPN’s John Saunders, a friend and colleague of Valvano, provided a special introduction to the speech. The approximate 13-minute long open will be offered in high definition and can be seen simultaneously on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPNU, ESPNU HD, ESPNEWS, ESPNEWS HD, ESPN Classic, ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV.

ESPN Deportes will air a special version of Valvano’s speech – featuring a montage of ESPN Deportes personalities reciting the speech over video of Valvano giving it – at approximately 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 2 because of a prior commitment to live programming.

The speech will be available for the entire week on ESPN.com, ESPN360.com and jimmyv.org.

Further Details:

Event and Studio Programming to Showcase Jimmy V Week Elements

Jimmy V Week segments on how cancer has touched the sports world will appear during studio and event programming across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNU and ESPN360.com all week, including guest interviews, features, testimonials and vignettes. The live event schedule features 26 men’s and women’s college basketball games, nine college football matchups, three NCAA Women’s soccer contests, one college hockey game and six PRCA events.

Throughout the week, ESPNEWS will offer interviews with guests who have a personal connection to cancer. In addition, Jimmy V Week elements, guests and discussions will be aired across television shows SportsCenter, First Take, PTI and Outside the Lines as well as ESPN Radio’s national programs. Guests are to be determined. Among the segments are features on cancer survivors such as:

  • Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who missed the entire season while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for Ewing’s Sarcoma, gained strength during his battle from family, teammates and a nun he had never met. Sister Barbara Ann, a cancer survivor who lives near Boston College rival Notre Dame, frequently wrote letters of support to the football player. Tom Rinaldi reports on Herzlich’s opportunity to meet his pen pal for the first time when he accompanied the team for the showdown against Notre Dame.
  • Twelve-year-old USC fan Jake Olson, who had his left eye removed when he was one to retinal blasphoma learned in September that the cancer had spread to his other eye. He recently had the right eye removed after attempts to treat it with chemotherapy and radiation had not been successful, rendering him blind. Before he lost his eyesight, Olson wanted to see one more USC game to take that image with him into surgery. Shelley Smith reports on how what started out as tickets to a game has turned into a relationship with the Trojan family that Olson says is helping him endure his battle.

ESPN Deportes Feature

In addition to televising the entire speech on opening night, ESPN Deportes will offer a feature throughout the week on Salvadorian race walker Cristina Lopez, whose long list of accolades includes the 2007 Pan American gold. Her toughest walk will be the one she takes down the hospital corridor with her four-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with cancer.

Special ESPNU Interstitials

ESPNU will offer seven Jimmy V Week “For Love of the Game” interstitials featuring testimonials from student-athletes who have been touched by cancer, including from the Texas golf, Miami soccer, Oklahoma volleyball, Ohio State rowing and soccer, and Washington softball teams.

  • Madison Pressel, a member of the Texas golf team and younger sister of LPGA Tour player Morgan, who lost her mother to breast cancer;
  • Austen Everett, a member of the Miami women’s soccer team, who has battled cancer;
  • Oklahoma head volleyball coach Santiago Restrepo, who lost his four-year-old son to leukemia in July;
  • Washington softball player Bailey Stenson who battled leukemia as a child;
  • Julia Hodgson, a member of the Memphis golf squad, who learned the meaning of appreciation and hard work by witnessing her mom’s fight against breast cancer;
  • The Ohio State rowing team, specifically coxswain Erika Benford who lost her mother to breast cancer in the spring, and the team walk in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event in Columbus;
  • Ohio State men’s soccer player Matt Lampson who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Special ESPN.com Content, Highlighted by Multiple Chats

ESPN.com will have special Jimmy V Week content highlighted by multiple chat sessions with sports celebrities and ESPN personalities throughout the week (people and times TBD). Additional content includes Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPYs speech; feature stories on athletes who have been touched by cancer, including Phil Mickleson, whose wife was diagnosed with cancer this year, and a feature story by Andy Katz on BYU men’s basketball coach Dave Rose, who is battling pancreatic cancer; and links to a calendar of events and to www.jimmyv.org for more information on The V Foundation and how to donate.

ESPN Classic Never Give Up Marathon Featuring Games Coached by Valvano

ESPN Classic will offer a Never Give Up marathon featuring classic N.C. State college basketball games coached by Jim Valvano – including his 1983 National Championship victory over Houston — leading up to the simultaneous launch of Jimmy V Week Wednesday, Dec. 2 beginning at 10 a.m. The schedule:

Date                 Time (ET)         Show

Wed, Dec 2 10 a.m. 1987 ACC Tournament Final: North Carolina vs. N.C. State
  Noon 1983 ACC Tournament Final: N.C. State vs. Virginia
  2 p.m. 1983 NCAA Tournament – West Regional: Pepperdine vs. N.C. State
  5 p.m. 1983 NCAA National Championship: N.C. State vs. Houston

Jimmy V’s Team: Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up!

ESPN2 will showcase the dedication and assistance of numerous people to ESPN-supported V Foundation events in 2009 through a 30-minute Jimmy V’s Team: Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up! program Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6:30 p.m. The show – highlighting initiatives which raised millions of dollars for cancer research and created new awareness for The V Foundation through the generous participation of athletes, celebrities, ESPN commentators and private donors — will be hosted by Bob Valvano and feature his sentiments about his older brother and family, a testimonial from Jim’s daughter Jamie and a compilation of footage from several summer fundraising events, including the ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic, the “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Radio Auction,” The V Foundation Wine Celebration, The Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic and an inaugural event at the Breeders Cup.

Jimmy V Week Message on BottomLine

The following Jimmy V Week message will be included across each of the ESPN networks’ BottomLines for live event programming: Jimmy V Week – Join ESPN and The V Foundation in the fight against cancer. Call (800) 4-JIMMY-V or visit jimmyv.org.

The V Foundation on Facebook and Twitter

Jimmy V Week updates and user comments will be available through The V Foundation Facebook and Twitter pages.


In an effort to remind viewers of the special week-long initiative, a Jimmy V Week watermark will appear in the upper right corner of the screen during live event programming across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Classic and ESPN360com (excluding during live NFL and NBA telecasts).

Blow the Whistle on Cancer!®

In coordination with Jimmy V Week, all NFL and NBA game officials are participating in The V Foundation’s Blow the Whistle on Cancer! ® campaign by donating a portion of their salary from the week’s games to The V Foundation.  This will be the eighth year of participation for the NFL to Blow the Whistle on Cancer! ® and the NBA’s fifth season – both leagues have had 100% participation from their officials every year of the campaign.

All three game officials from the Jimmy V Women’s Basketball Classic will also participate in Blow the Whistle on Cancer! ® and donate a portion of their game salary to The V Foundation.

Public Service Announcements

Public service announcements regarding the need to raise awareness for cancer research will be aired across multiple ESPN networks as well as on televisions in the Los Angeles located Nokia Plaza and on Staples Center TV, the AEG in-arena television network at the Staples Center. ESPN Deportes will air a Spanish language public service announcement as well.

The V Foundation

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $90 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. The Foundation, which has received seven consecutive top 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.

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