The event totaled over 525 participants with record net revenue, including corporate sponsorships, of $167,000. UCLA’s women’s and men’s basketball teams and the UCLA Athletic Department once again joined forces with Bruin basketball great John Vallely, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) and the Cancer Research Program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA for the fund-raising event.
‘Dribble for the Cure’ has grown every year with a six-year event total of over 4,025 participants contributing nearly $700,000.00 in the fight against children’s cancers. Last year’s (2012) event raised a then-record mark of $155,395.74 and the initial donation high of $115,000.00 was set in 2011. Proceeds will help support the treatment for pediatric cancer patients at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. ‘Honorary Captains’ and ‘Dribble’ participants were Breanna Gonzalez, Kenny Thomas, Jeffrey Hughes and Grace Suomi.
Starting at Drake Stadium and finishing at Collins Court in the Wooden Center, participants dribbled basketballs on a 1.2 mile course across the Bruin campus. At the conclusion of the event, participants were given a unique opportunity to meet and pose for photographs with and obtain autographs from the 2013-14 UCLA women’s and men’s basketball teams. UCLA student-athletes from other Bruin women’s and men’s sports were also present to work and participate in the ‘Dribble.’
“It is immensely heartening to be a part of the ‘Dribble for the Cure’ and to see the numbers of people who turn out every year, early in the morning, to raise funds for cancer research,” said Dr. Theodore B. Moore, Division Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. “Our young patients, like Breanna, Kenny, Jeffrey and Grace, are living proof of the benefits of research for which the ‘Dribble’ funds are used. We truly appreciate the great efforts of John Vallely, the folks at the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and UCLA Athletics who team up to pull this event together year after year. The success of the ‘Dribble’ gives us at Mattel, and especially our patients and families, tremendous hope for improving their quality of life and someday, curing this disease.”
Jeri Wilson, Executive Director of the PCRF, spoke to all those who are involved and contributed to ‘Dribble for the Cure.’ “At a time when funds for pediatric cancer research are declining, we are grateful to everyone at UCLA for their incredible generosity and recognize how their gift is both remarkable and purpose-filled,” Wilson said. “I know Dr. Moore and his colleagues at Mattel strive every day to ensure their research delivers immediate impact the families so richly deserve.”
For Steve Alford, entering his first season as the UCLA men’s basketball head coach, this was also his first ‘Dribble for the Cure’ event. “Our UCLA men’s basketball team has been part of ‘Dribble for the Cure’ since its inception in 2008,” Alford said. “Last Sunday was the first time I was involved with the ‘Dribble’ and I now know what a wonderful event it is and for such a great cause. We want to thank all the participants and everyone involved in our continuing effort to find a cure for children’s cancers. Our staff and team were all very happy when we heard the news that another annual donation record had been established.” UCLA’s women’s basketball team has been involved with ‘Dribble for the Cure’ since 2009 and for Bruin women’s head coach Cori Close, this was her third ‘Dribble’ event. "I am a ‘Dribble for the Cure’ fanatic,” Close said. “It is such an honor to be a part of this special event. I loved meeting the honorary captains, I love how the basketball family comes together and I love the money that is raised for research to combat children’s cancers. Thank you to the Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and to the Vallely family for allowing our team to be involved in this wonderful event."
For many years, John 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, he is a 2006 inductee into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame. Vallely is a two-time stem cell transplant cancer survivor and a 20-year member of the PCRF Board of Directors. In 1991, John and Karen Vallely lost their daughter Erin to cancer at age 12.
“I am so pleased the ‘Dribble for the Cure’ vision is being shared by so many in our community,” Vallely said. “Imagine enjoying a beautiful day with great people who want to make a difference in the world of Pediatric Cancer. I'm touched by the continuous support from the UCLA women’s and men’s basketball teams, UCLA Athletics and the UCLA Administration. Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation will administer the investment of our record donations for the highest quality research. I'm very excited to play a small part in the record donations of $167,000 this year. On behalf of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, Thank You!”
The official Dribble for the Cure Website can be accessed HERE.
Top Team Fundraisers for the 2013 ‘Dribble for the Cure’
1. Team Jackson (organized by Zachary Senator, a ninth-grade swimmer and water polo player at Pacific Palisades HS, who lost his brother Jackson to cancer at the age of eight-years-old) – over $38,500 raised.
2. Team Kamemoto – nearly $15,000 raised ($14,961)
3. Uni Girls Basketball, nearly $11,000 raised ($10,916)
Top Individual Fundraisers
1. Zachary Senator, over $24,000 raised
2. Wayne Kamemoto, over $12,000 raised