V Foundation for Cancer


“To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think — spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a heck of a day.” – Jimmy V, 1993 ESPY Speech


Basketball coach Jim Valvano gave a speech at the ESPY’s while on a cancer journey at the ESPY’s in 1993.  And it is still so powerful.  What is also so powerful is how much he has done for cancer since that speech – the V Foundation has granted over 310 million to cancer research.
If you’re looking for a way to sit and watch a video with your kids this week, make it this one.  Tell them you need 11 minutes with them to remind them about the importance of life and inspire them to push through hard times and to do just 3 simple things every day.

Interview with V Foundation

My Cancer Family spoke to Mary Ellen Curran, VP of The V Foundation about the importance of the speech today.

MCF: What do you want people to get out of the speech today?  What’s the most important message?
Mary Ellen: Jim’s speech continues to be a cornerstone of our mission. Jim never ceased to fight during his battle with cancer and did what many thought was not possible by taking the stage that night. One quote from that night that sticks out shows our mission – “It [cancer research] may not save my life. It may save my children’s life. It may save someone you love.” Jim’s selflessness showed how he thought of others over himself in his greatest time of need, and the importance of cancer research for the future.
MCF: What is the V Foundations words of wisdom to those just diagnosed or on a cancer journey?  Jim said in his speech… Laugh, Think, Have Emotions Moved To Tears – Laugh, Think and Cry…….How do you suggest people on a journey do that best?
Mary Ellen: Jim’s wise words of “Laugh, Think and Cry” were words for us all to live by, especially cancer patients. By his words, Jim is encouraging us to not be afraid of the array of emotions we might feel, but to embrace them and live life to the fullest. When people fight cancer, they are in battle daily and while battling they should show their emotions. Laugh during the good times, think critically about your family and friends, and cry during the hard times. Live life to the fullest each day.
MCF: What is most unique about how the V Foundation helps people every single day?
Mary Ellen: The V Foundation is unique in that our sole focus is cancer research. We believe that through funding the best research available we can see considerable findings that better the lives of cancer patients and achieve Victory Over Cancer®. Cancer research is an investment, providing a better future for families faced with cancer. Additionally, we are unique and fortunate in that 100% of direct donations go toward cancer research, as an endowment covers all administrative expenses. 
MCF: How do you keep “dreams alive” when on a cancer journey?
Mary Ellen: Advancements in cancer research have offered encouragement to many since the founding of the V Foundation 30 years ago. Today, there are 18 million cancer survivors in the United States and that number is expected to rise to over 22 million by 2030. The cancer death rate is continually falling and has dropped 32% since 1991. We acknowledge that there is much more to be done, but cancer research provides tangible hope to dreams while on a cancer journey.
MCF: What other non-profits does the V support that people should know about (that specifically help people daily)
Mary Ellen: While the V Foundation is solely focused on cancer research, we believe that all cancer charities are working together as One Team to achieve Victory Over Cancer®. This Victory can be found through research, improved treatments, meaningful care, offloading financial burdens and a multitude of other ways. We are proud to be on a unified, universal team in the fight against cancer.