New Initiatives Boost Awareness & Fundraising: Kicks to Beat Cancer, Craig Sager Style Day, Blizzard / Overwatch League Season Preview and WeRateDogs “H*ck Cancer” campaign
ESPN’s 12th annual V Week for Cancer Research set a new record, helping raise more than $8.3 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. That represents an 83% year-over-year increase.
“The 2018 V Week was ESPN’s most successful year yet. We are honored to share stories of determination and perseverance from sports fans such as Purdue alumni, Tyler Trent who helped raise much needed funds for innovative cancer research,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “We’re so appreciative of the continued support from the teams, leagues, corporate sponsors and ESPN fans who rally around the cause.”
“V Week provides extraordinary visibility to the V Foundation and our quest to end cancer,” said Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation for Cancer Research. “And critically, ESPN is tireless in helping us raise funds for research to make that happen. Our deepest thanks goes to every single person at ESPN, every fan, and every sponsor. Together, we can beat cancer!”
This year ESPN engaged new partners and created innovative fundraising and awareness-building campaigns, which ran from Nov. 27 – Dec. 8, which educated fans on the importance of cancer research including:
- Kicks to Beat Cancer: ESPN commentators and professional athletes put their signed and game-worn “kicks” to good use by donating 24 sneakers to auction on eBay in support of the V Foundation. The sneakers that raised the most money came from Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving.
- Craig Sager Style Day: In honor of famed sports reporter Craig Sager, who lost his battle with cancer in 2016, NBA athletes and coaches, as well as on-air commentators from ESPN, NBA on TNT and NBA TV wore jackets and clothing that captured his signature style during the two-day Craig Sager Style Day. Two of Sager’s one-of-a-kind jackets were auctioned off.
- WeRateDogs “h*ck cancer”: ESPN teamed with WeRateDogs to drive awareness to V Foundation’s canine comparative oncology initiative. Custom h*ck cancer merchandise was featured in social media and online with a percentage of sales benefitting the V Foundation and followers posted heartfelt stories of their dogs being affected by cancer.
- Overwatch League 2019 Season Preview: Close to one million Overwatch fans streamed a preview of the upcoming season which included exclusive schedule reveals, new team roster analysis and a state-of-the-league update from commissioner Nate Nanzer — all accompanied with V Foundation messaging.
Additionally, this fall, ESPN created the Tyler Trent Fund at the V Foundation for Cancer Research to support cancer research for Adolescents and Young Adults. Tyler Trent, a Purdue University student who was battling osteosarcoma, a particularly rare and aggressive form of bone cancer, captured the hearts of America when his story was featured across many ESPN shows. He fought great obstacles through his perseverance and determination, and was inspired by Jim Valvano’s rally cry, “Don’t Give Up.”. Tyler, who lost his battle this month, wished to make the biggest impact in the fight against cancer so that other young cancer patients and their families do not have to go through the agony his family went through. ESPN will continue to raise money for the Tyler Trent Fund.
Over the past 12 years, V Week fundraising has totaled over $30 million for cancer research.
About the V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research is dedicated to declaring victory over cancer. ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator, founded it in 1993. Since 1993, the Foundation has funded more than $225 million in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs. Due to generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process vetted by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.
About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplifts the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship.
Contact: Belen Michelis, ESPN, (860) 766-1425, [email protected]