The 2019 V Foundation Wine Celebration has raised more than $7 million during a full weekend of events in the Napa Valley. The 2019 total included $5 million in “Fund-A-Need” donations to support the V Foundation’s Canine Comparative Oncology program. This innovative grant-making program accelerates research by working with cancer centers and veterinary colleges nationwide to compare the cancers that beloved pets get with the cancers that humans get to learn more about the disease and to develop better treatments, care and progress for both human and pet patients.
“I am incredibly humbled and proud to be part of this amazing team,” said Chairwoman Julie Maples. “The V Foundation is truly a source of inspiration and generosity. In the words of Jim Valvano, we will ‘never give up’ as we continue to raise funds to support cancer research and programs.”
During the Wine Celebration Gala, the V Foundation announced a collaboration with Morris Animal Foundation that will support this groundbreaking research to advance the field of canine comparative oncology. Morris Animal Foundation announced a $1 million challenge in support of research tied to the Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. The collaboration will focus on genomic sequencing that will allow for significant progress in understanding the genetic aspects of cancers. This information will additionally help advance human cancer research efforts.
Hosted by Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, Duke University men’s basketball coach and V Foundation Board Member, the three-day signature fundraising event included intimate winery luncheons and dinners, live entertainment, live and silent auctions, and a cancer research symposium. The event attracted attendees from all over the country to the Napa Valley to benefit the V Foundation’s efforts in achieving Victory Over Cancer®.
A highlight of this year’s event was the live auction gala with dozens of incredible lots up for bid. The evening’s top lot featured a VIP experience to the sold-out Eagles “Hotel California” concert in Las Vegas, hosted by Beth Nickel, proprietor of Nickel & Nickel Winery, the gala host winery. Other top lots featured assistance from celebrity attendees. V Foundation board member, NBA Hall of Famer, champion and 10-time all-star David “The Admiral” Robinson, offered up cooking classes for four at the Culinary Institute of America campus in San Antonio, agreeing to double the lot after spirited bidding came down to two lucky winners. Similarly, culinary host for the weekend’s gala, celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse doubled his lot of a Carnivale Du Vin weekend in New Orleans for four lucky couples, complete with two, 3-liter bottles of Emeril’s AldenAlli pinot noir. Over 25 lots brought in $2 million dollars at the culmination of the weekend’s festivities.
One of the most memorable moments of the gala occurred when Coach K asked the cancer survivors in the room to stand, proclaiming them winners to thunderous applause.
“The V Foundation Wine Celebration continues its tremendous legacy of uniting generous supporters and world-class vintners,” said Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation. “Through a team of dedicated individuals and organizations, we’ve once again come together to raise essential funds to help us move toward Victory over Cancer®!”
In its 26 years, the V Foundation has awarded more than $225 million in cancer research grants nationwide. Twenty-six years ago, the diagnosis and prognosis related to cancer were not as optimistic as today. Because of research, there are earlier diagnoses, a better understanding of what causes some cancers, more positive prognoses of some cancers, and therapies designed to kill cancer while preserving the patient’s overall health. The V Foundation distributes research grants for all types of cancer to the most promising scientists nationwide through a competitive process vetted by a Scientific Advisory Committee. The 22nd annual V Foundation Wine Celebration will be held on August 6-9, 2020.