Bucs, Gators join Dick Vitale’s crusade vs. pediatric cancer at Sarasota gala

A month before his 82nd birthday, college basketball’s most recognizable voice is still clamoring passionately and persistently toward a goal he has devoted himself to for the last three decades of his life.

On Friday nights, it will resonate at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota.

While the 16th annual Dick Vitale Gala, which benefits pediatric cancer research, will be modest (capped at 500 visitors due to the coronavirus) compared to recent years, Vitale’s goal is not.

He hopes to raise $ 5 million.

“We’re getting $ 5 million, it means I won my national championship,” Vitale said in a recent music video.

Here are a few things to know about this year’s celebrity-studded event.

Guest list includes Gators, Bucs

Former Gators quarterback Kyle Trask, drafted by the Bucs in the second round of the NFL draft last weekend, will attend the Dick Vitale Gala in Sarasota on Friday night.
[ Tampa Bay Times (2017) ]

Among those honored are Gators soccer coach Dan Mullen, Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl, ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt, and former Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw.

Also planning to attend (according to Vitale): Bucs coach Bruce Arians and his newest quarterback, former Gator Kyle Trask; general manager Jason Licht; and Buc’s Ring of Honor induces Jimmie Giles and Mike Alstott.

In addition, longtime ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen will receive the V Foundation John Saunders Courage Award. Mortensen, 69, was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer more than five years ago, but returned to performing in time for the 2017 concept.

The $ 35 million man

The V Foundation for Cancer Research (named in honor of legendary NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993) indicates that the previous 15 Vitale galas raised more than $ 35 million. Sponsorships range from $ 50,000 (including 20 seats at the banquet and 20 invitations to a private reception at Vitale’s home) to $ 1,000. Those who still can’t attend can make a donation or sign up to win autographed memorabilia. Simply go to https://www.v.org/vitale or call 941-350-0580.

The annual @ DickieV gala, which benefits children battling cancer, is in Sarasota this Friday. Target this year is $ 5 million. Event sold out, but you can still help this critical cause. Here’s how … pic.twitter.com/4UcAi9tFsO

– Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) May 4, 2021

There IS crying in basketball

Dick Vitale joins a group of survivors of cancer at his annual fundraising gala in 2019. Vitale hopes to raise at least $ 5 million this year for childhood cancer research, to be held in Sarasota Friday. [ JOEY KNIGHT ]

As sure as the sun sets off the coast of Sarasota, two things are sure to happen Friday night: A.) Vitale will recite in detail the backstory of the pediatric cancer patients invited to his gala, and B.) he will cry while he talks about the collective plight of those children.

In 2017, an estimated 15,270 children ages 0-19 were diagnosed with cancer, according to the V Foundation. In addition, the number of Americans diagnosed with cancer is expected to rise to 19 million by 2025.

“What this event does is remarkable,” said Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh at the 2018 gala, where he was an honoree.

“Cancer is something that affects every family in the world forever. Dick Vitale identified research and fundraising as the path (to a cure). What he achieved in life … He really hung on the moon. “

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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