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Basketball icon Dick Vitale reflects on cancer recovery, focus on funding childhood cancer research

Basketball icon Dick Vitale reflects on cancer recovery, focus on funding childhood cancer research
Posted at 10:05 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 05:32:51-04

SARASOTA, Fla. — College basketball icon Dick Vitale said his greatest accomplishment has been his ability to give back to others.

At 82, Vitale remains passionate about raising money for pediatric cancer research.

"No kid should suffer, no kid should be doing what I was doing, going for chemotherapy, going for scans," Vitale said.

The 17th annual Dick Vitale Gala will be held in Sarasota on May 6. The fundraiser benefits the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The gala is expected to raise more than $7 million this year for pediatric cancer research.

Vitale has fought cancer for the past seven months. Doctors first diagnosed Vitale with melanoma and then lymphoma.

Earlier this month, he rang the bell at Sarasota Memorial Hospital after doctors said his cancer is in remission. Vitale posted updates about his battle with the disease on social media.

"I just thought it was important to really share and let people know what a cancer patient goes through," he said. "I'll be very honest with you, seven months have been brutal. It has not been fun."

Vitale said he was so frustrated when he could not speak for three months during cancer treatment. Vitale is battling issues with his vocal cords unrelated to cancer.

"It really frustrated me, I felt trapped," he said.

At home, Vitale has a drawer full of letters from children battling cancer. He said he responded to every letter or note he received.

"I want to help these kids and I tell ya, I'm obsessed with it," he said.

Vitale said he is blessed with an amazing career and a beautiful family.

"I've lived a great life, a beautiful wife of 50 years and two beautiful daughters," he said.

Though his legendary career spans decades and he's been witness to countless great college basketball moments, he said his greatest achievement has been his ability to give back to others.

"I'm in 14 Hall of Fames," Vitale said. "Obviously, the big ones, the Hall of Fame of basketball. I’m in a Hall of Fame of broadcasting, Hall of Fame where I coached in college, Hall of Fame of where I lived in New Jersey. The bottom line is those are all great achievements, but my biggest, biggest, I feel, accomplishment of my life has been giving back and trying to help kids battling cancer."

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded by ESPN and legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano.

To learn more about the upcoming gala, click here.

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