I will not be attending the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday, the first time since the Classic started in 1995 that I am unable to participate. It saddens me and hurts to know that I can’t join my friends Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Holly Rowe on Tuesday’s Tennessee/Texas Tech and Syracuse/Villanova games call up in the Mecca – Madison Square Garden .
My medical team did not allow me to make the trip because of the intense chemotherapy treatments I had over two days this weekend at Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Brian D. Jellison Institute Oncology Center. The dose of my chemotherapy was increased, and the 72 hours after the chemo was a very difficult time. My doctors told me the side effects could be severe, and they were right – they included severe abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, flu-like symptoms and inability to sleep. I’m happy to report that my medical team was also right when they said the side effects of the chemotherapy would go away.
ESPN and Stichting V are committed to the fight against cancer. V-week 2021 is November 30 – Dec. 12. If you are able, please support cancer research by going to V.org/donate.
I now have a much better idea of what people encounter on their travels while trying to recover from a cancer diagnosis. It’s a never ending battle to get to that finish line where you can hear those magic words that you are now cancer free.
My heart goes out to all the children I have met over the years who have been affected by this terrible disease, including at my annual gala dedicated to childhood cancer research. The side effects I just covered make me wonder how on earth these youngsters can endure months of these treatments. Other than the toll on the kids, I can’t even imagine how their families can handle seeing their kids go through chemotherapy and feel almost helpless.
In my case, I have blood work and a scan on Wednesday to determine if my white blood cell count has increased. If so, will I get permission to play the Villanova vs. Baylor game to play Sunday at 3 p.m. EST on ABC. My team is very optimistic and I pray they are right again.
Meanwhile, the challenge of winning this battle for all cancer patients never ends with Tuesday’s Jimmy V Classic replayed in the name of my great friend, the late Jim Valvano. The V Week festivities and the Jimmy V Classic are always great opportunities to get involved in raising dollars to fight this relentless disease. I’ve written before about my friend Jim and his courageous struggle, and his struggle is one of the reasons I’ve been so inspired over the years to fight for childhood cancer research.
If you want to join the fight, take a moment and go to dickvitaleonline.com or V.org/donate and donate now.
The 17th Annual Dick Vitale Gala, benefiting the V Foundation, will be held at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida, on May 6, 2022. For more information, visit dickvitaleonline.com.