ESPN’s 13th consecutive V Week for Cancer Research begins on “Giving Tuesday,” Dec.3, and runs through Dec. 14. Throughout the week, ESPN will drive awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research across ESPN platforms and all net proceeds will go directly to cancer research and related programs. Last year, V Week helped raise a record $8.3 million, bringing the 12-year total of contributions to more than $30.5 million.
“V Week leverages ESPN platforms and partners to drive awareness of the continued fight against cancer and generates donations to the V Foundation,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president, ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “This year, we celebrate our dear friend and colleague, and the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award winner Stuart Scott, by honoring his courageous spirit to ‘Fight Like Hell.’ We’re honored to once again celebrate V Week and inspire fans to help support the V Foundation to one day eradicate cancer.”
The 2019 V Week will feature several new initiatives to raise funds for the V Foundation:
- Stuart Scott Day: In honor of famed ESPN television personality and 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award recipient Stuart Scott, who passed away from cancer in 2015, ESPN is dedicating Wednesday, Dec. 4, as “Stuart Scott Day.” On that day, ESPN will showcase content, which depicts Scott’s love of life and perseverance through his fight with cancer and his consistent message to “never give up.” A special, limited edition Stuart Scott t-shirt will go on sale starting Dec. 4 and all net proceeds of sales will benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
- UFC “Fight Like Hell” Night: On Saturday, Dec. 7, UFC is dedicating its fight to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, which supports groundbreaking minority cancer research. Scott had a strong connection to mixed martial arts and even trained during his treatments. “Fight Like Hell” Night will also feature Stuart Scott-related content all throughout fight night.
- “Ring the Bell to Knock Out Cancer” Night: Also during V Week, Top Rank will raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation by dedicating Saturday, Dec. 14, as “Ring the Bell to Knock Out Cancer” night. Within boxing, “ringing of the bell” symbolizes the end of the fight, and for patients with cancer and their healthcare team, the “ringing of the bell” is a significant moment as well, signaling the end of active treatment and the beginning of a life free of cancer. The “ringing of the bell” will be a symbolic moment during the Top Rank fight, making fans aware of ESPN’s dedication to eradicating cancer. The fight will air on ESPN, Saturday, Dec. 14, at 9 p.m. ET.
- “Don’t Give Up on Me” Anthem: Multi-platinum selling pop artist Andy Grammer is invested in the mission to find cures for cancer, having lost his mother to breast cancer. The lyrics of his song “Don’t Give Up on Me” fit perfectly with the themes of fighting adversity, supporting a loved one, having belief in dark times and ultimately not giving up. Grammer’s song “Don’t Give Up on Me” will air during V Week campaigns, which aligns with the V Foundation theme of fighting adversity and motto of “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®
Additional V Week programming includes:
- Kicks to Beat Cancer (Dec. 2-Dec.12): Professional athletes, celebrities and musicians are putting their “kicks” to good use by reaching into their extensive shoe collections and donating a signed pair to be auctioned off in support of the V Foundation. Celebrities and sports stars past and present have donated their shoes, including NBA legend Magic Johnson, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, former NFL player Victor Cruz, Kansas City Chief athletes Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, fashion icon Anna Wintour, celebrity Kim Kardashian West, college basketball coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams, USA national soccer team athletes Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, and many more. Fans can bid on the shoes at ebay.com/espn.
- Jim Valvano’s ESPYS Speech Roadblock: Just once a year, nearly all of ESPN platforms pause regularly scheduled programming and run a “roadblock” in support of the V Foundation. On Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m., the 15-minute roadblock will begin with a highlight by ESPN television personalities discussing Stuart Scott’s impact on the industry, his presence at ESPN and his fight with cancer. The roadblock also will highlight former N.C. State coach-turned ESPN commentator Jim Valvano’s legendary 1993 “Don’t Give Up” ESPYS speech. It will be offered simultaneously on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, ACC Network, SEC Network, Longhorn Network, ESPN Radio, the ESPN App and ESPN.com. The roadblock will be streaming live on all networks listed and fans can access it on demand via ESPN3 replay. A captioned version also will be available on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square, HearstLive, the New York City Disney Store and within Disney Resorts. In addition, speeches from all Jimmy V Perseverance Award winners (Robin Roberts, Craig Sager and Jim Kelly) will air during V Week. Across all ESPN networks, the Bottomline scroll will encourage viewers to join ESPN and the V Foundation to achieve Victory Over Cancer®” by visiting v.org/donate.
The Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona will begin with the Women’s Classic on Sunday, Dec. 8, followed by the Men’s Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 10, all airing live on ESPN.
- Women’s Classic: No. 15 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 UConn at 4 p.m. (Gampel Pavilion on UConn’s campus)
- Men’s Classic: No. 12 Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Louisville at 7 p.m., and Indiana vs. UConn at 9 p.m. (Madison Square Garden); College GameDay will also be on-site, with host Rece Davis and analysts Jay Bilas, LaPhonso Ellis and Seth Greenberg providing news and analysis in between games
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.
About the V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The Foundation has funded more than $250 million in cancer research grants nationwide. The V Foundation awards 100% of direct donations to cancer research and programs. The V Foundation’s endowment covers administrative expenses. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive award process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation, please visit v.org.
Contact: Belen Michelis, ESPN, (860) 766-1425, [email protected]