Commentary

Jimmy V's legacy lives on

Updated: March 4, 2013, 1:21 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I cannot believe that it has been 20 years since Jimmy Valvano made that courageous speech at the ESPY Awards in New York City.

The words will always resonate. "Don't give up, don't ever give up!"

I remember how sick Jimmy was that evening. I honestly did not know how he was going to make it up to the stage, and I remember standing next to him, in total awe as he spoke. We helped him off of the stage that evening and he was absolutely amazing in his words as he talked about beating cancer.

Word came that night that the V Foundation for Cancer Research was being started. My friends, while some may say Valvano's legacy came when he cut down the nets in 1983 as national champion with the Wolfpack, I beg to differ.

Jimmy V's legacy has been the battle against that dreaded disease, cancer.

I know Jimmy is looking down from heaven. He must be proud of the efforts of the V Foundation, of his friends like John Saunders, Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Lloyd and others, people who have worked so hard over the years. The V Foundation has raised more than $120 million to battle cancer with research grants that have made a difference.

I know that we are in a much better place in this fight than we were two decades ago.

We have saved many lives with the research being done. Unfortunately, this is a battle that is far from over. We have seen too many lives lost, too many families affected and torn apart by cancer. It affects everyone.

That is why I am so passionate about beating cancer and raising money for the V Foundation in its efforts. I have decided that as long as I am on this Earth, I will keep trying my best in the effort to beat cancer.

Jimmy V said it so eloquently 20 years ago. If you want to help, please call 1-800-4-JIMMY V. The life you help save may be that of a friend or family member. We must rid the world of that C-word. Cancer is vicious, and I have seen firsthand how it wrecks lives.

Don't give up, don't ever give up!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.