R.S.V.P. to: Jadine Garcia at 707-963-0611 or [email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
Holly Krassner (707) 252-7281 [email protected]
RECORD $9.2 MILLION RAISED FOR CANCER RESEARCH AT 15TH ANNUAL V WINE CELEBRATION
Net Proceeds from the Event to Benefit Cancer Research and Awareness Programs
NAPA, CA, AUGUST 5, 2013 — The V Foundation for Cancer Research’s annual fundraiser, The V Wine Celebration, garnered $9.2 million over the weekend of August 3 and 4 for cancer research. A generous challenge gift received from top bidders Evan and Cindy Goldberg pushed the total into record territory. The total also included nearly $1.2 million in “fund-a-need” donations honoring Good Morning America co-host and cancer survivor Robin Roberts.
Since it was created in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach, The V Foundation has awarded more than $100 million in grants. Because the foundation has an endowment to cover its administrative expenses, 100 percent of the funds raised at the event will go to cancer research and programs.
A major theme of this year’s V Wine Celebration was The V Foundation’s “street cred,” as event host, legendary Duke University men’s basketball coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, described it. V Foundation Chairman Robert Lloyd told the crowd, “No charity, no nonprofit will be better stewards of your money than The V Foundation.” Over the years, the organization has been able to leverage its grants into $1 billion for cancer research.
Christophe Georges, president and COO of Bentley Motors Americas, said Bentley is proud to be a partner with The V Foundation. It is the only organization in the Americas that Bentley supports on a continuous basis because of its commitment, transparency, heart and dedication. “This is why you can continue to count on us,” he said. This is the third year Bentley has sponsored The V Wine Celebration.
The V Foundation’s signature fundraising event attracted attendees from all over the U.S. to the Napa Valley for a gala weekend of events and activities with a serious underlying purpose — to benefit the foundation’s efforts to support significant cancer research at major institutions and research centers nationwide.
The 15th annual V Wine Celebration kicked off on Thursday, August 1 with several intimate winery dinners. Suzanne Pride and Stuart Bryan hosted diners at Pride Mountain Vineyards, Chuck and Anne McMinn welcomed another group to Vineyard 29, and Launny and Weezie Steffens hosted those dining at Vineyard 7 & 8. Also, on Thursday, Hi Sang Lee and Young Hwa Chung and Jae Chun and Jennie Lee hosted members of The V Foundation Giving Club at the Humanitarian and Founders Dinner at Dana Estates.
On Friday, guests started their day with a Bentley driving experience through the Napa Valley followed by a Riedel wine tasting in the afternoon. Members of the Giving Club attended the Presidents Club & Vintner Grant Honoree Luncheon sponsored by Bentley Motors at the Napa Valley Reserve. The 2013 Vintner Grant honorees were introduced and recognized: Fred and Mary Constant, Jeff and Valerie Gargiulo, Dick and Ann Grace, Fred and Sally Schweiger and Lowell and Janet Herrero. The V Foundation will provide a grant to prostate cancer research this year in each of their names.
Friday evening’s popular “Let’s Get it Started” party at The Pavilion at The Vintage Estates in Yountville featured Napa Valley’s renowned restaurateurs, preeminent vintners and custom barrel auctions, where guests had the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind cases of custom-created wine blends from celebrated winemakers. The evening ended with guests dancing to David Martin’s House Party.
Saturday morning the Foundation presented a public Cancer Research Symposium, where prominent physicians and research scientists from around the nation gathered to present the most current advances and discoveries in clinical applications, new diagnostics and alternative treatments for cancer. The standing-room-only crowd of several hundred then had the rare opportunity of posing questions to these leading researchers during a lively Q&A session.
The weekend’s activities culminated with a gala dinner and live auction at Nickel & Nickel Winery, which has served as home of The V Wine Celebration since 2005. Beth Nickel, owner of Nickel & Nickel, was honored by V Foundation CEO Susan Braun, who recognized her “magnanimous spirit that has blessed us all these many years” and presented Nickels with a painting by Lowell Herrero of her own summer cottage in the north woods of Wisconsin. Surprised to be honored, Nickels thanked everyone, reiterated her commitment to The V Foundation, and said, “Let’s raise money and wipe out this hideous disease.”
In 2003, Nickels lost her husband Gil Nickel to an aggressive form of melanoma. Just three months before his death, despite being gravely ill, Gil Nickel made his final public appearance at The V Wine Celebration, where he thanked everyone for what they were doing for cancer research. That same year, Beth Nickel joined with The V Foundation to run a successful campaign to endow the $1 million Gil Nickel Fund, which was awarded to The UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center in support of melanoma research.
V Foundation Wine Celebration co-founder and board member Julie Allegro honored fellow V Foundation board member Steven Bornstein, president and CEO of the NFL Network and former president and CEO of ESPN. “It’s a perfect night to recognize what we call the man with the idea,” said Allegro. “ESPN has a force; it’s called the Jimmy V Committee. Employees are so dedicated, and all of that stems back to Steve and his commitment.”
Bornstein lost his brother, mother and father to cancer over a 14-month period 20 years ago. During that time, he read an article in Sports Illustrated about Jim Valvano, his friend and colleague, and Jim’s own battle with cancer. Bornstein suggested to Valvano that they start a charity to fight cancer. “Jimmy said we’re not going to fight cancer, we’re going to cure cancer,” said Bornstein. “He insisted that we fund research.” Bornstein was presented with a tribute book and the announcement of a translational grant in his brother, mother and father’s names. “If Jim Valvano were here tonight, he would say, thank you, my friend for giving me that comfort, that magnificent gift of knowing my life would matter,” said Allegro in recognizing Bornstein.
“The V Foundation Wine Celebration is an extraordinary, classy, entertaining way to gather amazing people and raise money for cancer research,” said Susan Braun, CEO of The V Foundation. “After 15 years, the shine is brighter than ever. Each vintner, each sponsor, each participant – all come together to make a difference, and this year was a resounding success. Our deepest gratitude to everyone who made this possible.” V Foundation Chairman Robert Lloyd and event host, Coach K loosened up the crowd, imploring the guests to give generously for this important cause — and they did.
Coach K poked fun at friends in the audience and told a humorous story about meeting rapper Jay Z and his admitted love of Jay Z’s wife Beyoncé, before getting serious. “Tonight isn’t about being motivated, it’s about being inspired,” he said. “We create inspirational videos for our Olympic team,” and he shared a video that “reinforces the words I would like to reinforce as we move forward.” Those words were “emotion, pride, together, compete, enthusiasm, talk, passion, fight, energy, dirty work, communication and no excuses.” He invited the audience to recommit themselves to the fight against cancer. “We want you to renew your commitment to be emotional, to get angry, to work together,” he said. “Let’s look cancer in the eye and spit in its face.”
The most compelling auction lot was this year’s fund-a-need, which honored TV anchor Robin Roberts. In 2007, Roberts’ professional and personal worlds collided as she chose to turn the cameras on herself when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She eventually was declared cancer free, but then in 2012 she was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), She took a leave from her co-anchor position on Good Morning America to receive a bone marrow transplant from her sister, Sally Ann Roberts. After a successful operation, she returned to work in February 2013. Roberts, who received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS last month, has served as an inspiration to countless people as she has twice overcome life-threatening illnesses, while America watched.
V Foundation Chairman Robert Lloyd introduced Robin Roberts, who attended the event remotely, addressing the guests by video. “I remember last year and it was just weeks before I was going to have my transplant. I felt the love. It boosted my spirit,” she thanked the audience, and reminded everyone, “We need more money for research. As my momma used to say: ‘Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise,’ I will be there with you next year.” Bidders honored Roberts by uniting to donate nearly $1.2 million to MDS research. More than 130 guests donated to the fund-a-need, with Michael and Carole Marks and Larry and Nancy Probst kicking it off with generous pledges.
The evening culminated with a performance by Oscar and Grammy Award winning singer and guitarist Melissa Etheridge, nine years cancer free. She dedicated the song Run for Life to Roberts. The song has special significance, as it is about cancer and running for answers to make the situation better. “I love you,” she said. “Keep running, my friend.”
With the winning ticket in the “Choose Your Porsche” raffle, Cyril and Blakesley Chappellet will choose either a 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera, 2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS or a 2013 Porsche Panamera valued at up to $100,000 to take home.
Auctioneer David Reynolds kept the bidding lively through all 36 lots, including travel experiences in the Bahamas, New Orleans, Miami and Anguilla, and a never-before-offered vertical featuring 30 vintages of Grace Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Befitting the foundation’s origins, sports enthusiasts found a variety of enticing lots, among them the opportunity to attend the Duke Blue Devils vs. the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, the ESPYS, the Dick Vitale Gala, Super Bowl XLVIII and the 2013 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Generosity paid off for top bidders Evan and Cindy Goldberg. In addition to their generous pledge and their support to the fund-a-need, they walked away with four auction lots. In addition to their generous $50,000 pledge to the fund-a-need, Gus and Linda Doppes won lot #10, introduced by special guest Olympic snowboarder Louie Vito, and are headed to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as well as on an adventure in Wisconsin with Beth Nickel and Holly Peterson. In addition to raising their paddle for the fund-a-need, John and Sandra Thompson will also be going on the set of Good Morning America with Robin Roberts. Olympic figure skater and cooking show host Brian Boitano introduced his lot; Jim and Gretchen Mair will enjoy a meal at Boitano’s home in San Francisco. Doug and Jill Schatz took home the rare 30-vintage Grace Family vertical.
For more information about the 2013 event, call 707-963-0611 or visit www.winecelebration.org.
The 16th anniversary V Foundation Wine Celebration will be held August 7-10 2014.
ABOUT THE V FOUNDATION FOR CANCER RESEARCH The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $100 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. The V Foundation awards 100 percent of direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs. Thanks to its generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers its administrative expenses. The V Foundation, which has received nine top four-star ratings from Charity Navigator, awards its research grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a scientific advisory board.
For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org or www.winecelebration.org. # # # PHOTOS AVAILABLE
Join The V Foundation for Cancer Research,
founded by ESPN & the late Jim Valvano, as we join together in our fight against cancer!
Buy a Raffle Ticket…
for your choice of a new 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera, Cayenne GTS, or Panamera 4.
Only 325, $1000-tickets will be sold.
You can purchase multiple tickets to increase your chances of winning.
The drawing will be held August 3, 2013, at the V Foundation Wine Celebration.*
CLICK HERE for “Choose Your Porsche” Raffle Order Form
Buy your raffle tickets today before they sell out!
*You don’t need to be present to win.
“Choose Your Porsche” Raffle is operated by the V Foundation Wine Celebration.
All taxes and expenses are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited.
SURVIVE AND ADVANCE
Directed by Jonathan Hock
ESPN’s newest 30 for 30 documentary, entitled “Survive and Advance” will premier this Sunday night, March 17th, at 9 pm Eastern on ESPN. In 1983, Jim Valvano, for whom The V Foundation is named, coached the North Carolina State men’s basketball team to an improbable national championship. 10 years later, he lost his life to cancer. Produced by team captain and V Foundation Board member, Dereck Whittenberg, Survive and Advance tells the story of this win, the team that did it, the coach who lost his hard-fought battle with cancer. It is a gripping story of unmatched athletic triumph, and ultimately of love and loss.
The movie will air on ESPN’s channels throughout the rest of March and April. It will also air on Saturday night, April 6th at 4 pm Eastern on ABC. Learn more about the movie here.
See the original article at http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/events/2013/030413a.shtml
(L to R) CEO of the V Foundation Susan Braun, President Emeritus of the V Foundation Nicholas Valvano, FDNY Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Prezant, Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, Chief of Department Edward Kilduff and First Deputy Commissioner Don Shacknai.
Members of the FDNY were honored to partner with representatives from the V Foundation for Cancer Research at FDNY Headquarters on March 4 to announce that the Foundation is bestowing a $1 million grant to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to study early detection of hematological cancers that effect first responders.
“Right now, there are too many of our members fighting this disease,” Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said. “And we know there will be far too many more that will develop cancer from their work, and ultimately, many who may lose their lives. That’s why this grant means so much to every single member of this Department.”
Chief of Department Edward Kilduff added, “This is a terrific organization with one goal, to raise money for cancer research, to help people. So to be selected by them for this grant is very special.”
The FDNY’s medical offices have provided medical care to more than 16,000 FDNY members who worked at the World Trade Center site since 2001. These doctors were the first to recognize respiratory disease in those who worked at the site as well as document a spike in certain cancers occurring in this group.
The V Foundation has funded more than $100 million in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. The Foundation distributes grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board.
Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano addresses the group.
The group says they hope the funding of this research will lead to earlier detection of blood-related cancers, resulting in increased survival rates for FDNY members and the public overall.
“This is a great day for the Department,” FDNY Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Prezant said. “Thank you to the V Foundation for their unending commitment to our members.”
At the ceremony, many FDNY members referenced the plaque in the lobby of Headquarters that currently holds the names of 64 FDNY members who have lost their lives due to illnesses, including cancer, that were directly related to their work at the World Trade Center site.
And just feet away from where the ceremony was held is the plaque for Fire Marshal Steve Mosiello, who responded to the World Trade Center tragedy with Chief of Department Peter Ganci. FM Mosiello died from an aggressive form of cancer he developed due to his work at the site.
“We take this battle personally,” Nicholas Valvano, President Emeritus of the V Foundation, said. “There is a need here that just cried out. This is an important project for me, the FDNY and society as a whole.”
The announcement came on the 20th anniversary of the start of the V Foundation.
“This is all about giving back and prevention,” CEO of the V Foundation, Susan Braun said. “This is something that’s close to our hearts. We’re working together to save lives.”
The V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board members presented the most recent cancer breakthroughs and a progress report on V Foundation-funded cancer research.
The V Foundation has already applied over $100 million of your generous contributions to find cures for cancer. The medical doctors and scientists presenting at the Research Symposium are, without a doubt, the absolute experts in their field, and the V Foundation is thankful for, and honored by, their presence and continuing contributions.
Dr. Robert Bast, chairman of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, opened the symposium, which was attended by over 200 people, by announcing the Board’s renewed focus on Translational Clinical Research to facilitate the transition of research projects from the laboratory to the clinic. Translational researchers seek to apply basic knowledge of cancer and bring the benefits of the new basic-level understandings to patients more quickly and efficiently. Dr. Bast is Vice President for Translational Research at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He is also a founding member of The V Foundation Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board.
Dr. Bast described the three kinds of Research Grants that The V Foundation provides:
- Designated Grants – 300 in the last 16 years, $100K each, committed to researching new ideas on a specific type of cancer.
- V Scholar Grants – 100 in the last 16 years, $100K for 2 years to younger researchers with new ideas.
- Translational Grants – 100 in the last 16 years, $200K for 3 years to innovative researchers who have discovered a cancer breakthrough in the lab, and will now move their solutions from the lab to clinical trials to determine if their solutions are effective on cancer patients.
Dr. Bast then described the results of a V Foundation Translational Grant that was made to find cures for melanoma, a very common skin cancer. Through specialized research that provided deeper understanding about the cells and molecules affected by this cancer, success was measured in 50% of the patients who have had abnormal DNA from a single gene. By combining targeted therapies with new immunotherapies, there has been an 80% success rate and the skin cancer has not returned. There is more research to be done, but the progress in combating melanoma is continuous.
Dr. Bast then introduced Sylvia Plevritis, PhD., Associate Professor, Department of Radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Plevritis, a very senior research professional who has already received multiple grants from the National Institute of Health, described her work in breast cancer computer modeling. She received a Translational Grant from The V Foundation to study genomic therapies and the value of early screening and detection of breast cancer. She and her team have created an on-line Decision Support Tool which is publically available at http://brcatool.stanford.edu/ . This decision support tool is designed for joint use by women with BRCA gene mutations and their health care providers. The goal of this tool is to inform discussion between providers and patients about options for reducing cancer risk. Dr Plevritis also discussed her Systems Biology Research, which is based on a “tsunami of molecular data” available in the public domain, from all of the cancer research that has been carried out, and the challenge of integrating and synthesizing this complex data to inform better outcomes. The specific purpose is: 1) to identify cellular networks of cancer and the drivers of initiation and progression, 2) to identify potential therapeutic targets and mechanisms of action, 3) to identify prognostic and predictive biomarkers, with the ultimate goal of accelerating benefits from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside.
Dr Bast then opened the Cancer Symposium to Q & A, after first introducing the entire V Foundation Scientific Advisory Board who were in attendance, to provide specific answers to questions from the attendees. A summary of the discussion is below (see the YouTube videos for the complete discussion):
- Q. Is pancreatic cancer growing in our society? A. Pancreatic cancer is increasing consistent with the aging population in the US, but there is a lot of new research to combat this cancer.
- Q. How can cancer be prevented? A. There is no cure for abnormal genetics. People need to understand their genetic history and share that information with health providers who may be able to provide early screening. Diet and metabolism need to be understood, and a healthy lifestyle is important for preventing cancer. Tobacco still causes one third of the cancers today.
- Q. Is there an increase in brain tumors? A. There doesn’t appear to be an increase in brain cancer in adults, but there may be an increase in children.
- Q. How is the National Comprehensive Care Center Database kept current so that the patients who want to do personal research know that they are getting the best information? A. They are very rapidly updated.
- Q. Are more Cancer Centers using integrated therapies to enhance the wellbeing of patients? A. Yes, there is a lot more being done, but these do not necessarily improve outcomes. However, some of the Chinese medicines have proven useful in curing some forms of cancer.
To view the Cancer Research Symposium in its entirety, visit the V Foundation Wine Celebration’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/winecelebration. The V Foundation works with the best and brightest scientists and doctors to fight cancer. Their goal is to use all of the cancer fighting therapies, in combination, to create a personal therapy to respond to the unique cancers that exist.
Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts to Join The V Foundation’s Board of Directors
May 22, 2012
The V Foundation for Cancer Research, one of the nation’s leading cancer research foundations, is excited to announce that Robin Roberts has been named as the newest member of its Board of Directors. Roberts, a cancer survivor herself, has been co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America” since 2005.
“From standing in the wings following Jim and his inspirational ESPY speech to observing the great work of The Foundation, I am truly honored to serve on the Board,” said Roberts.
Roberts, a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, has been a broadcast journalist since 1983. She spent time at local news affiliates throughout the Southeast prior to beginning a fifteen year career with ESPN as a contributor between 1990 and 2005. Subsequently, Roberts took her post at “Good Morning America.” Since joining the show as co-anchor, the broadcast has been awarded three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Morning Program. In June of 2007, Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer. She faced her diagnosis with courage and her ensuing battle has been recognized with honors and awards by various organizations throughout the country.
“From our inception, Robin has been a friend and supporter of The V Foundation,” said Nick Valvano, CEO of The V Foundation. “We are thrilled that Jim’s former colleague at ESPN has agreed to join our Board of Directors as we work to defeat this horrible disease.”
The Board of Directors for The V Foundation for Cancer Research was originally established in 1993. The Board is made up of business leaders, award-winning athletes and coaches, distinguished physicians and world-renowned entertainers. Their purpose is to provide governance to insure the sustainability and long-term effectiveness of The V Foundation while upholding its core principles.
W. Martin Kast, Ph.D.
In 2003, Dr. W. Martin Kast, professor at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, was awarded a Translational Grant to explore a new approach for dendritic cell-based cancer immunotherapy for cervical cancer. In the past eight years, Kast and his team have been focusing on the behavior of the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer.
Dr. Kast leveraged his 2003 Translational Grant to procure major subsequent funding through two grants from the NIH totaling $2.6 million. Highly accomplished, Dr. Kast has published more than 250 articles and holds 18 patents. Most recently, he was named the 2010 Eminent Scientist of the Year by the International Research Promotion Council and 2010 North American Immunologist by the World Scientists Forum.
The V Foundation’s grant has led to major discoveries for Kast’s team, including the identification of the uptake receptor for HPV and an escape-route of HPV from the immune system. Kast explained that the mechanism of immune escape for the virus is the “Achilles’ heel of the virus” and this is now the focal point of his research. Kast is currently developing a therapeutic vaccine for HPV-induced cervical cancer and is leading the world in research for a cream that can be used for HPV infections.
The V Foundation grant has not only helped Kast generate more funding from the National Institute of Health, but has also allowed him to train his graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, who are currently multiplying his research efforts in their own laboratories.
Kast is passionate about the need for funding in cancer research and is incredibly supportive of The V Foundation.
“Everyone in this life will either be confronted directly or indirectly by cancer,” Kast said. “The direct correlation between funding levels and medical research discoveries really indicates that the more funding you put into [research], the more lives you save. You can hardly imagine how important your contributions are for making cancer a disease of the past.”
Kast is a professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Urology. This is his eighth year at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
“You can hardly imagine how important your contributions are for making cancer a disease of the past.”
To donate, please visit jimmyv.org/holiday or call 1-800-4JIMMYV
On March 1, 2012, The V Foundation Wine Celebration team put together a group of our biggest vintner supporters and hosted a wine reception at this year’s gala event at the TED conference in Long Beach. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and is attended by some of the biggest thinkers and entrepreneurs of our time. Each year TED assembles a cast of characters capable of stirring the imagination as never before. Explorers, storytellers, photographers, scientific pioneers, visionaries and provocateurs from all parts of the globe and is hosted by some of the biggest names in technology and innovation.
This year the V was there and brought along our friends from Chappellet, Gargiulo, John Anthony, Silver Oak, Vineyard 7&8, Peju, Meteor, Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, PRIDE, Alpha Omega, William Cole, Frogs Leap, and the Napa Vintners Reserve. The evening was a fantastic success with the Tedsters (what they call their attendees) engaging with these amazing wineries and learning about the V Foundation.
The V Foundation also assisted in three wine receptions during the week, including a special reception for Gucci, the speakers for the conference, and a special private event for the top 50 attendees.
The V Foundation, Chappellet Wines, and Michael Jordan (the Master Sommelier from Los Angeles) did a special Masters Wine Tasting Class during the event and TED has expressed interest in expanding that program for 2013.
As a result of this years successful event we have been invited back for a larger role in 2013.
NEARLY $4 MILLION RAISED FOR CANCER RESEARCH
AT 14TH ANNUAL V WINE CELEBRATION
NAPA, CA, AUGUST 4, 2012 – The V Foundation for Cancer Research’s annual fundraiser, The V Wine Celebration, garnered nearly $4 million over the weekend of August 3 and 4 for cancer research.
The V Foundation’s signature fundraising event attracted attendees from all over the U.S. to the Napa Valley for a gala weekend of events and activities with a serious underlying purpose — to benefit the foundation’s efforts to support significant cancer research at major institutions and research centers nationwide.
The 14th annual V Wine Celebration kicked off Friday evening with its popular “Let’s Get it Started” party at The Pavilion at The Vintage Estates in Yountville. Food prepared by some of Napa Valley’s renowned restaurateurs and chefs was accompanied by an array of wines from equally legendary Napa Valley wineries. Guests bid on silent, super silent, and barrel auction lots comprising unique wine, sports, art and travel packages, and danced to high-energy music performed by David Martin’s House Party.
Saturday morning the foundation presented a public Cancer Research Symposium, where prominent physicians and research scientists from around the nation gathered to present the most current advances and discoveries in clinical applications, new diagnostics and alternative treatments for cancer. The standing-room-only crowd of several hundred then had the rare opportunity of posing questions to these leading researchers during a lively Q&A session.
The weekend’s activities culminated with a gala dinner and live auction at Nickel & Nickel Winery. Suzanne Pride Bryan of Pride Mountain Vineyards was honored as the V Vintner grant recipient. A breast cancer survivor herself, Suzanne shared the story of her father Jim Pride’s battle with bladder cancer. Before he died, he made a generous gift to Stanford to advance the fight against bladder cancer — which helped the research team to isolate the stem cell for bladder cancer, a critical step toward identifying a cure. The V Foundation will make a donation in Suzanne’s name to the Masonic Cancer Center at University of Minnesota to research enzyme catalyst mutations in breast cancer.
Chairman Bob Lloyd and event host, Legendary College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz, who has made a career of inspiring players and motivating them to be winners, livened up the crowd and implored the guests to give generously, and they did. Holtz, whose own wife is a stage four cancer survivor, provided some levity for the evening, even performing a magic trick for the crowd, and reminding them there is no magic in solving cancer. He ended his remarks with advice for happiness: “If you want to be happy for an hour, eat a steak. If you want to be happy for a day, play golf. If you want to be happy for a week, go on a cruise. If you want to be happy for a month, buy a car. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, help us solve cancer.”
The most compelling component of the auction was this year’s Fund-A-Need, auction lot #11, which honored the first responders to 9/11. V Foundation CEO Nick Valvano introduced the Fund-A-Need and acknowledged the dozens of men and women in uniform surrounding the room, Napa County’s first responders, who received a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd. Researchers have reported the presence of hundreds of compounds in Ground Zero dust, among them known carcinogens. Many of the first responders, who arrived at the site of the World Trade Center within hours of the twin towers’ collapse and spent months searching for survivors and cleaning up after the attacks, are now being diagnosed with cancer.
After a video showing images from that fateful day accompanied by a stirring rendition of God Bless America sung by the “singing policeman,” New York City cop Daniel Rodriguez, bidders honored these heroes by uniting to donate more than $800,000 to support a collaborative effort between the Fire Department of the City of New York WTC Health Program, Montefiore Medical Center, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the National Cancer Institute. Michael and Carole Marks, followed by Tracy and Lou Ann ORourke, generously kicked off the fund-a-need, pledging $100,000 each.
Auctioneer David Reynolds kept the bidding lively through all 34 lots, including travel experiences in China, Turkey and Finland, a walk-on role on the popular TV show Royal Pains, and a never-before-offered vertical featuring 19 Vintages of Harlan Estate wines. Befitting the foundation’s origins (it was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator), sports enthusiasts found a variety of enticing lots, among them the opportunity to sail on USA 76, Oracle’s AC Class boat that competed in the America’s Cup and VIP tickets to the winter and summer X Games, Indy 500, the Masters, the ESPYs, the Super Bowl and the Duke Blue Devils Bonanza.
The live auction also featured lots donated by Bentley Motors, Inc. of an ice driving experience in Finland, including accommodations at a luxury chalet, round-trip business class air travel, a dog sled tour and snowmobile excursion; as well as a special Napa Valley package for 10 couples including dinner at the exclusive Napa Valley Reserve and overnight accommodations at Meadowood Resort. Last year, Larry and Nancy Probst were the lucky winners of a 2012 Bentley Continental GT Coupe. This year, the Probsts generously donated that car back to The V Wine Celebration to be raffled off again.
Generosity paid off for top bidders Launny and Weezie Steffens, proprietors of Vineyard 7 & 8, who were the proud winners of the Bentley in this year’s raffle. In addition to a generous pledge to the Fund-A-Need, the Steffens won lot #23, a private concert and dinner with Joshua Bell and Beth Nickel in New York, and lot #32, a Clubhouse Finish Line Suite on Millionaire’s Row at the Kentucky Derby.
Both Donald and Irene Dizney and Linda and Gus Doppes captured VIP tickets to Good Morning America, when Robin Roberts, Good Morning America and ESPN host and V Foundation board member, generously agreed to double the lot.
Rich and Leslie Frank are headed on a 10-day journey for six to Turkey and an eight-day tour of China after taking home lots #4 and #8. Ron and Teri Kuhn are staying closer to home, premier tickets to SuperBowl XVII, a grand celebration in honor of Robert Mondavi’s 100th birthday and VIP tickets to the 124th Rose Parade. Evan and Cindy Goldberg took home the rare 19-vintage Harlan Estate vertical and a luxury stay and golf excursion in Pebble Beach.
After the final gavel, the entertainment continued with a private performance by American rock legend Chris Isaak, followed by a meet-and-greet. Guests at The V Wine Celebration were chauffeured to events in luxury automobiles provided by Audi, proud sponsor of The V Wine Celebration.
The 15th anniversary of the V Foundation Wine Celebration will be held August 2 and 3, 2013. For more information about the 2013 event, call 707-963-0611 or visit www.winecelebration.org.
ABOUT THE V FOUNDATION FOR CANCER RESEARCH
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $120 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. The V Foundation, which has received eight top four-star ratings from Charity Navigator, awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a scientific advisory board. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org or www.winecelebration.org.
# # #
Max Duley, Auction Director