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October 30, 2013

V Foundation president emeritus to deliver keynote at Purdue Cancer Culture and Community event

Nick Valvano

Nick Valvano 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Nick Valvano, president emeritus of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, will give the keynote address for Purdue University's Cancer Culture & Community Colloquium at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall.

Valvano is the eldest brother of Jim Valvano, the late North Carolina State University basketball coach and TV commentator who founded The V Foundation after his diagnosis with cancer. The Purdue Cancer Culture & Community (CCC) event, which is free and open to the public, is titled, "Laugh, Think and Cry: The Legacy of Jimmy V's Last Speech."

The annual event, led by Discovery Park's Oncological Sciences Center in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts, also will feature a special video presentation by ESPN college basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale. A longtime friend and ESPN broadcast partner of Jim Valvano, Vitale still serves on The V Foundation board and has been a tireless supporter of its efforts.

Jim Valvano lost his battle with cancer on April 28, 1993, two months after delivering his famous ESPYs award speech "Don't Give Up … Don't Ever Give Up." ESPN supports the "Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research," now in its seventh year, to raise money and bring attention to the cause.

"This year's Cancer Culture & Community event will explore the legacy of Jimmy V, an award-winning coach and victim to cancer, and his inspiring last speech," said Marietta Harrison, director of the Oncological Sciences Center and Purdue associate vice president for research.

"His brother, Nick, and legendary sportscaster Dick Vitale, who escorted Jimmy to the stage the night of that historic speech, will examine what Jimmy V's message meant for sports, for people with cancer and for The V Foundation, as well as how cancer research has evolved since."

Cancer survivor Terry Kix, Purdue women's basketball director of operations, also will speak, and Andrew Brightman, assistant head of the Purdue School of Biomedical Engineering, will deliver a performance of "Coach."

Nick Valvano, who received the 2013 Shingleton Award from the Duke Cancer Institute for his outstanding service and generosity in the fight against cancer, spent 13 years as chief executive officer of The V Foundation before retiring in August 2012. He remains on the foundation board and takes part in special projects.

Under Valvano's leadership, The V Foundation awarded more than $115 million for cancer research grants to more than 100 facilities across 38 states nationwide and awards 100 percent of direct cash donations and net event proceeds to cancer research.

Susan Braun succeeded Valvano as the V Foundation CEO in September 2012. She also had served as executive director at Commonweal in California, a nonprofit health and environmental research institute.

Partnering with the Oncological Sciences Center and the College of Liberal Arts for the upcoming colloquium are Purdue Athletics, Department of English, Discovery Lecture Series, WBAA Public Radio, the Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts, the Purdue Center for Cancer Research, the Office of the Provost and the Office of Public Affairs.

The Oncological Sciences Center and the College of Liberal Arts launched the annual Cancer Culture & Community initiative in 2007 to explore how the arts and literature provide an outlet of expression to those struggling with cancer.

The Oncological Sciences Center, created through a gift from The Lilly Endowment in 2005, is the Discovery Park arm of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. It builds on existing research areas and is expanding Purdue's thrust into nanotechnology, community discovery clinical trials, and cancer care and prevention. 

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu 

Sources: Marietta Harrison, 765-494-1442, harrisonm@purdue.edu 

Kristine Swank, operations manager, Oncological Sciences Center, 765-494-4674, kswank@purdue.edu 

Related website:

ESPN Interview with Nick Valvano