Anyone who knows me knows I am passionate about basketball. Friends and colleagues also know that I am passionate about another, more serious subject – the fight against cancer. So you can see why I urge everyone to support the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Coaches vs. Cancer BasketBall Gala presented by Independence Blue Cross. This year it is Saturday, April 8, fittingly right after March Madness ends.
This is the 14th annual dinner since the ACS began working with the Division I college basketball coaches from the Philadelphia region, including the current group of Phil Martelli (St. Joseph’s), Fran Dunphy (Temple), Steve Donahue (Penn), John Giannini (LaSalle), Zach Spiker (Drexel), and Jay Wright (Villanova). It has been the most successful Coaches vs. Cancer program in the country, having raised about $14 million in as many years. Since 1993, college basketball coaches have raised more than $100 million nationwide for the ACS.
The 2017 event honors Dick Smith, a St. Joseph’s alumnus who is past president of the school’s Alumni Association, its Law Alumni Association and the Hawk Hoop Club. Coach Martelli told me that the coaches chose Dick because he exemplifies the spirit of the Coaches vs. Cancer program in his personal battle against cancer. Coach Martelli said that Dick’s determination and his commitment to helping others is an inspiration to all of the coaches. I completely agree. They couldn’t have made a better choice.
Everyone is impacted in some way by cancer – whether it has affected you directly or touched the lives of your family or friends. And it’s devastating. Let’s all pull together and join the coaches against cancer. They and the American Cancer Society need passionate supporters who are equally determined to wipe out this terrible disease.