With the recent news of actor Patrick Swayze’s brave battle against pancreatic cancer, I got to thinking about another celebrity who was faced with a similarly dire prognosis: Jim Valvano. His speech at the 1993 ESPN Awards was one that I will never forget. He showed courage and grace under tremendous pressure, and offered inspiration and hope to those struggling with cancer.
Next month on April 28th it will be the 15th anniversary of Jimmy V’s death from metastatic cancer. During his ESPN speech, Valvano urged his audience to bring the issue of cancer research, and the need for funding, back to the forefront. In honor of his memory, I’d like to do just that.
Here’s a link to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, where you can learn more. You can also see a video of Jimmy V’s speech on the website, or read a transcript.
Another cancer patient who received some unexpected fame recently was Professor Randy Pausch. His “Last Lecture” speech, given to his students at Carnegie Mellon University after he discovered he had pancreatic cancer, was a YouTube sensation. It eventually made its way to Oprah, and the rest is history. Randy Pausch is still fighting the good fight, taking Valvano’s words to heart, and not giving up. You can learn more about him and his incredible “Last Lecture” on his website. If you scroll down to the “Resources section” you can read about his medical/day-to-day updates, which are written with honesty and humor.
Prayers going out to Professor Pausch, Patrick Swayze, and a “gone-but-not-forgotten” shout out to Jimmy V.