SARASOTA – No matter who attended the 12th Annual Dick Vitale Gala Friday night, they all tried to channel their inner Dickie V.
“Whether it’s calling college basketball games or what he’s doing to fight for, driving dollars for pediatric cancer. I mean passion, is sort of his middle name, if you will,” former President of ESPN, George Bodenheimer, said.
And tons of passionate visitors filled the Ritz–Carlton. A new comer to this year’s gala but no stranger to raising funds for pediatric cancer is the Chief Brand Officer of the WWE, Stephanie McMahon, who has combined their pediatric cancer initiative Connor’s Cure, with the V Foundation.
“He’s raised over $18 million in the 12 years he’s been doing this which is just fantastic. I want to learn from him. I want to learn from all the different people here, so I can help join this fight in an even bigger way,” McMahon says.
One person who’s supported Vitale’s effort from the get go, former ESPN personality, Howie Schwab. He remembers the first one at Dickie V’s house and now it’s larger than life.
“Dick said, I want to make it even bigger. Now it’s evolved into this and it’s an amazing, amazing night. This is your first one? You’re going to have a great time,” Schwab says.
The vocal point in this entire effort, help find a cure for cancer. Every cent, every dollar counts. The goal for this year’s gala is to raise over $3 million. A stretch, surely, but they know better than to doubt Dickie V. Because he’ll never give up.
“If I know Dick Vitale, which I have for over 35 years, something tells me that goal is going to be achieved,” Bodenheimer says.