Vitale: Jimmy V event a success

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Generosity flows at 10th Jimmy V Golf Classic


Aug. 25
I can't believe it's been 10 years since Jimmy Valvano passed away. This is also the 10th anniversary of the Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic, and his legacy continues.

To me, his legacy was not winning the national championship with N.C. State in 1983, but his courageous battle against cancer and the millions of dollars being raised in his name to fight this dreaded disease. Already the V Foundation has raised more than $30 million, and that amount will increase after this past weekend's activities as numerous celebrities from the sports and entertainment world visited Cary, North Carolina, Jimmy's hometown.

At the Black Tie affair, Charles Barkley proved to be Mr. Generosity.
Frank McGann, one of Jimmy V's closest friends and the director of the Classic, has done a phenomenal job again. This year the events included golf, tennis, a dinner and auction, plus an appearance by Bill Cosby, helping the tournament once again net more than $1 million.

I feel so honored to share the honorary chairmanship of the Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic along with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and ESPN/ABC commentator John Saunders, two guys who had so much love for Jimmy V.

I was so disappointed that my plane from Charlotte to Raleigh-Durham was cancelled and I arrived too late to see Cosby's performance Friday night. Cosby, a member (along with me) of the V Foundation's board of directors, appeared gratis and put on a special show, according to many in attendance. They replayed the V&V Movers segment when Jimmy V and I appeared on "The Cosby Show" when it was No. 1 in the ratings.

Then on Saturday morning, I participated in the annual celebrity tennis match. Bob Valvano served as special umpire while I faced Kim Zimmer, who plays Reva on "The Guiding Light." She had a hot game in tennis, but I was able to hang on to win 6-3. Bobby V said I was a 10-1 underdog in Vegas (just kidding). My drop shot and forehand were on target. But the bottom line is everybody wins at an event like this.

One of the most exciting moments of the weekend was seeing Kevin Lynch as the ball boy. Why do I mention him? I got to know Kevin several years ago when he was battling kidney cancer. He is now in his fifth year post-chemotherapy, and he's cancer-free. This is what the event is all about -- seeing the results of the dollars raised to fight cancer.

At the Black Tie affair on Saturday night, Charles Barkley proved to be Mr. Generosity. Sir Charles got into a bidding war over an invitation to Michael Jordan's fantasy basketball camp (as if Charles needed that!). The woman bidding against him wanted it for her husband.

When Barkley lost the bidding at $110,000, he offered to match the bid and then gave the second invitation to the woman to give to a friend. That was Charles in charge, baby! All for a good cause, helping raise the dollars to help cure cancer.

With the research being done, people like Kevin Lynch, Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun and many others are able to live a normal life after battling cancer.

There were so many stars at the event -- Barkley, Boeheim, Calhoun, Krzyzewski, Rush Limbaugh, Dean Smith, P.J. Carlesimo, Jack Ford, Mike Fratello, Ron Francis, Sean Hill and Bates Battaglia of the Carolina Hurricanes, Nancy Lieberman and "Young and the Restless" star Joshua Morrow (Nick Newman on the soap).

Jimmy V would be proud to see all these people gathered to support the cause he cared so much about, battling cancer.

If you are interested in helping support the V Foundation, call 1-800-4-JIMMYV.

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