On Sunday, Nov. 7, the third annual "Dribble For The Cure" was held on the UCLA campus with donations totaling $95,000 to help find a cure for children's cancer.
Ben Howland's UCLA men's basketball team, Nikki Caldwell's Bruin women's basketball squad and the UCLA Athletic Department joined forces with UCLA basketball great John Vallely, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) and the Cancer Research Program at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital for the fund-raising event.
Starting at Drake Stadium and finishing at historic Pauley Pavilion, over 600 participants dribbled a basketball around a 1.2 mile course across the Bruin campus. At the conclusion of the event inside Pauley, participants were given a unique opportunity to meet and pose for photos and obtain autographs from the 2010-11 UCLA Bruin women's and men's basketball teams.
Including this year's $95,000 in contributions, the "Dribble For The Cure's" three-year donation total is over $265,000, benefiting PCRF and UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital.
"On behalf of all of the physicians, nurses, and staff in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the DFTC event to help support cancer research," said Dr. Kathy Sakamoto, Chief of Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. "One of the reasons why we are now able to cure 80% of children with cancer is because of support for pediatric cancer research over the past four decades. Today, our goal is to cure 100% of children with cancer and our hope is that with the funds raised from DFTC, we will find a cure for this life threatening disease.
"It was inspiring to see so many young people, including UCLA undergraduates, high school students, and even younger children coming out to support pediatric cancer research," said Dr. Sakamoto. "I would like to thank Coaches Ben Howland and Nikki Caldwell, the women's and men's Bruin basketball teams, Ashley Armstrong and UCLA Athletics, and John Vallely and Nancy Franks from PCRF for their help and support in making this year's DFTC such a successful event."
For many years, Vallely and his family have been on the front line in the battle against cancer. A starting guard on John Wooden's UCLA 1969 and 1970 NCAA Championship men's basketball teams and a 2006 inductee into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame, Vallely is a cancer survivor and a member of the PCRF Board of Directors. In 1991, John and Karen Vallely lost their daughter Erin to cancer at age 12.
"Mattel Children's Hospital and Pediatric Cancer Research are thrilled with the results of our third Dribble For The Cure event on the UCLA Campus," Vallely said. "In spite of the difficult economy this family event will again raise approximately $100,000. These funds will go directly to research that ultimately saves the lives of children "trapped" by this ugly disease. Together, we made a masterpiece of our day together. The women's and men's UCLA basketball teams continue to reach out to the community to make a difference in the lives of others. I am so proud to be a part of this great institution."
Since it's inception in 2008, the Bruin basketball teams have been an integral element of "Dribble For The Cure." "Nikki and I want to emphasis what an honor and privilege it is for our teams to be able to participate in this great event," Howland said. "It has helped our players and coaches understand the true significance and goal of "Dribble For The Cure" - helping children with cancer and finding a cure for this terrible disease. These past three years have been a wonderful experience for our teams. Thanks again to everyone who donated and participated."