Two cancer-fighting initiatives come together this year at The 2014 ESPYS to join forces in the battle against the disease.
ESPN has announced that The V Foundation for Cancer Research and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, will collaborate on grants for research scholars working within an emerging scientific field known as convergence, a new model of research meant to spur innovation in new ways of combating cancer.
“We are so proud to make the announcement of these two major organizations teaming up as part of our new multi-platform ESPY Day program this year designed to take our fundraising tied to the ESPYS to another level,” said ESPN president John Skipper. “This donation, combined with the support of our viewers and radio listeners, is creating a truly collaborative way to strive for a cure for this disease.”
A highlight of ESPY Day – a vision of former ESPN President and V Foundation board member George Bodenheimer – will be the special announcement of the collaboration during The 2014 ESPYS by Robin Roberts. Roberts, who was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at The 2013 ESPYS, has publicly battled cancer and has received wide recognition for inspiring others who are continuing to fight each day. The 2014 ESPYS, hosted by Drake, will be televised live Wednesday, July 16, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN from Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles.
This is the first time The V Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer have worked together. SU2C is investing $4 million in the grants program.
“We see convergence as a blueprint for innovation, involving the coming together of different fields of study — particularly engineering, physical sciences, and life sciences,’’ said Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, and chair of the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, who wrote a white paper on the subject. “Through collaboration among research groups and the integration of approaches that were originally viewed as distinct and potentially contradictory, convergence enables the innovation necessary to address the epidemic of cancer, one of the most urgent health care challenges of the 21st century.”
“The donation stemmed from the jointly-held visions of both The V Foundation for Cancer Research and The Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Stand Up To Cancer initiative to discover and fund scientific breakthroughs that can end cancer’s reign as a leading cause of death,” said Lisa Paulsen, a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer and president & CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
“By working collaboratively with The V Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer will help expand investments in new and innovative research efforts combining expertise from several scientific areas aimed at understanding, controlling and treating cancer,” said Sung Poblete, Ph.D., R.N., president & CEO of Stand Up To Cancer.
Added Susan Braun, CEO of The V Foundation for Cancer Research: “By taking advantage of advances in information technology, nanotechnology, new material research, imaging, optics, quantum physics, and other physical sciences, often considered outside the realm of traditional biomedical research, convergence grants may provide a tipping point in our fight against cancer. ESPY Day and this collaboration with these two leaders in cancer research funding is another important effort in our shared fight against this terrible disease. Donations made through this multi-platform initiative allow us to continue funding life-saving research programs.”
This year, ESPN is also expanding its 21-year effort to help find a cure for cancer with a day-long fundraising drive across multiple platforms called “ESPY Day Benefitting The V Foundation for Cancer Research.” ESPY Day will begin at midnight on July 16 with integrated fundraising messaging across ESPN networks culminating with a special simulcast of the ESPYS on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. Some of these funds raised will support future SU2C-V Foundation Convergence Scholars grants. The simulcast will include fundraising elements and heavy social media integration of the hashtag #DontEverGiveUp, inspired by Jim Valvano’s iconic speech at the 1993 ESPYS.