ESPN and The V Foundation for Cancer Research are pleased to announce its year-end initiatives, including the 16th annual V Week for Cancer Research. Starting with Giving Tuesday on Nov. 29 and concluding on Dec. 11, this year’s V Week will include a variety of activities and fundraising opportunities across ESPN and the V Foundation platforms by highlighting Jim Valvano’s legacy through the V Foundation and encouraging donations to fund life-saving cancer research.
“This is our biggest moment of the year,” said V Foundation CEO Shane Jacobson. “A time when we get to collaborate with our founding partner, ESPN, to celebrate the great Jim Valvano and raise awareness on the national stage of the impact cancer research has on saving lives.”
During V Week, ESPN and the V Foundation will encourage viewers to “Help Cancer Research Win.” In his famous ESPYS speech, Jim said research “may save someone you love.” Today, there are 18 million cancer survivors living in the United States, and that number is expected to be 22.1 million by 2030. The V Foundation awards 100% of its direct donations to cancer research and programs and has proudly awarded over $310 million for cutting-edge cancer research.
Viewers can join the fight through a variety of initiatives, including:
- 2022 V Week Campaign (Nov. 29 through Dec. 11): The campaign featured throughout this year’s V Week centers around effort and support. The V Foundation started with a moment nearly 30 years ago with a speech, and the moment we’re all aiming for is to achieve Victory Over Cancer®. Valvano’s moment was only possible due to the support and physical assistance of his dearest friends and family. To achieve Victory Over Cancer®, it will require effort and support, and the campaign brings this to life in a variety of heartfelt ways. As part of the campaign, ESPN is working with Disney and multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Allegra Miles on “Stronger Than You Know,” an original song developed to support overall V Week efforts throughout the 12-day activities and programming across ESPN platforms.
- Giving Tuesday (Nov. 29): ESPN and the V Foundation will promote the importance of joining the fight to “Help Cancer Research Win,” further supporting the V Foundation’s funding of the top innovative, game-changing researchers in the country. Messaging begins on ESPN Radio at 6 a.m. ET, and it continues throughout Giving Tuesday and V Week. Supporters can give at v.org/donate.
- The ESPN Roadblock (Nov. 30): At 7 p.m. ET, ESPN will dedicate all programming to sharing inspiration from Jim Valvano, Dick Vitale, Stuart Scott and others to help kick off V Week. This will include a complete re-air of Jim’s timeless ESPYS speech from nearly 30 years ago.
- Stuart Scott Fight Like Hell Night (Dec. 3): UFC is dedicating its fight on Dec. 3 to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund. Scott had a strong connection to mixed martial arts and trained during his treatments. Fight Like Hell Night will feature Stuart Scott-related content throughout fight night. UFC also will donate to the Stuart Scott Fund.
- The 28th Annual Jimmy V Classic (Dec. 4 and 6): This year, eight teams will take the court for the men’s and women’s Jimmy V Classic on ESPN. On Dec. 4, the women’s events will take place on campus sites, with Virginia Tech visiting Tennessee and the UConn Huskies visiting Notre Dame. The men’s event will take place on Dec. 6 at Madison Square Garden with back-to-back games beginning with Illinois vs. Texas, followed by Iowa vs. Duke.
- The Inaugural Jimmy V Classic Challenge (Nov. 22 – Dec. 9): The Jimmy V Classic is being elevated this year as all eight schools participating in the event will collectively raise dollars for cancer research. The money raised will be split 50/50 between V Foundation funded grants and local research initiatives supported by each school and approved by the V Foundation. Fans can support their team by visiting v.org/jimmyv.
- My Cause, My Cleats (Dec. 4): In conjunction with the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats initiative, V Foundation Board Member Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos, and Nick Bolton of the Kansas City Chiefs, will dedicate their cleats to the V Foundation to show their passion for cancer research. Both players’ one-of-a-kind cleats will be auctioned off following the game with funds raised benefiting cancer research. Wilson’s cleats will promote the V Foundation and his Why Not You Foundation and will be dedicated to those affected by cancer, including close friend and business partner Trevor Moawad who sadly passed away from cancer last year. Bolton will wear one pink cleat for breast cancer and one gray cleat for brain cancer. Bolton’s mother and sister are both survivors, so each cleat will have their name and the date they declared Victory Over Cancer®.
- Boo-Yah! A Celebration of Stuart Scott (Dec. 5): In New York City, the V Foundation will host this signature event as a tribute to the late Stuart Scott with co-hosts actor Hill Harper and SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett along with featured guests, and Scott’s daughters, Taelor and Sydni Scott. Funds raised at the event will benefit the Stuart Scott Fund dedicated to tackling racial disparities in cancer outcomes. The fund has raised over $16 million to date. Tickets are available at v.org.
- The 12 Days of V Week Giveaway: During V Week, the V Foundation will be giving away merchandise “swag” to lucky winners through their social media channels. Participants may follow @theVFoundation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn for details on how to enter.
Throughout V Week, ESPN and the V Foundation will highlight stories from cancer survivors including Andrew Jones, a former basketball player at the University of Texas who battled cancer and has since donated a portion of his NIL funds to the V Foundation, and Patrick McCaffery from the University of Iowa men’s basketball team, who battled thyroid cancer at the age of 14.
“Victory Over Cancer® is something I am forever grateful for, and I will continue to be an advocate and role model for cancer research,” said McCaffery. “Anything you can do with Jimmy V’s name attached is special. I’m forever grateful to play on the big stage of the Jimmy V Classic and embody Jim’s ‘Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up’ mantra.”
“Each year, we make positive strides in achieving Victory Over Cancer®, stemming from the iconic moment when Jim Valvano gave his speech from the ESPYS stage nearly 30 years ago,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “It’s remarkable to look back at that moment and flash forward to where we are now and be proud of the progress. However, we are not done. We have more moments — including this V Week — to collectively come together to donate and support this cause as we continue in the fight against cancer.”
The V Foundation holds 11 consecutive 4-star (highest) ratings from Charity Navigator, America’s largest evaluator of charities, and is among the top 2% of all charities evaluated. The V Foundation is a GuideStar Platinum-rated charity.
For more information, visit the V Foundation’s new website at v.org. The new site amplifies the stories of impact of cancer research, the people leading this work and cancer thrivers who have benefitted from research to make progress towards the V Foundation’s vision of Victory Over Cancer®.
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 V Foundation has funded over $310 million in game-changing cancer research grants nationwide through a competitive process strictly supervised by a world-class Scientific Advisory Committee. Because the V Foundation has an endowment to cover administrative expenses, 100% of direct donations is awarded to cancer research and programs. The V team is committed to accelerating Victory Over Cancer®. To learn more, visit v.org.
About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplift 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.