Oct. 15, 2012
LOS ANGELES - UCLA will host the fifth annual "Dribble for the Cure" event on campus this Sunday, Oct. 21. The annual fundraising event is a joint effort between UCLA Athletics, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and the Cancer Research Program at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA.
Proceeds from Sunday's event will help support the treatment of children with cancer at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. Last year's fourth annual event established record numbers for participation and revenue. Nearly 900 participants dribbled a basketball across UCLA's campus, helping donate over $115,000. Dribble for the Cure has grown each year, accumulating a four-year event total of nearly 3,000 participants contributing over $376,000 in the fight against children's cancer.
"It is a great pleasure for the UCLA Children's Cancer Program at Mattel Children's Hospital to team up with real winners like UCLA coaches Cori Close and Ben Howland, with John Vallely, with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and with UCLA Athletics in our efforts to find cures for childhood cancer," said Dr. Theodore B. Moore, Division Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA.
Sunday's event begins with 8:30 a.m. registration at UCLA's Drake Stadium, where activity booths and entertainment will highlight a welcome ceremony at 10 a.m. The fifth annual Dribble for the Cure event begins at 10:15 a.m., when each participant will embark upon the 1.2 mile course through campus.
Finish line festivities (11:15 a.m.) will take place at the John Wooden Center (Collins Court) where participants will have the opportunity to meet for autographs and pictures with the UCLA women's and men's basketball teams, along with student-athletes from other Bruin athletic squads.
Team (a minimum of 10) and individual participants will be asked to collect pledges for their `Dribble' and will become eligible for prizes based on pledge amounts turned in by Oct. 21. Each participant will receive a Dribble for the Cure t-shirt and goodie bag.
In addition, this year's event will honor Ken Heitz, a starting guard/forward on head coach John Wooden's 1967, 1968 and 1979 NCAA championship men's basketball teams. Heitz died on July 9 at age 65 after a battle with cancer. Heitz and Vallely were starting guards on Coach Wooden's 1969 UCLA NCAA Championship squad. Heitz is one of just 14 UCLA players who lettered on three of Coach Wooden's NCAA championship teams at UCLA
"This will be our team's fifth year involvement with Dribble for the Cure, and each year the event has drawn more participants and raised more money in our goal to find a cure for children's cancer," Howland said. "Last year's Dribble was the biggest and best in terms of raising money and our goal this year is to set a new fundraising record. We will also have a special dedication and remembrance for Ken Heitz, a Bruin great who in July lost his battle with cancer. Dribble for the Cure will always have a special place in our family's heart because my daughter Meredith is a registered nurse (RN) at the Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA in pediatric oncology."
For Coach Close, this will be her second consecutive year of involvement with the event.
"Last year, in my first season as the UCLA women's basketball head coach, it was an honor and privilege for our team to be involved in Dribble For The Cure," Close said. "I now know what a great event it is and for such a wonderful cause. It will also be very meaningful for our team to honor Bruin great Ken Heitz. We helped raise a record amount of money last year and on Oct. 21 will be working to set a new and higher donation total. All of us in UCLA Athletics want to thank all the participants for their involvement and donations."
For many years, Vallely and his family have been on the front line in the battle against cancer. A starting guard on Coach Wooden's 1969 and 1970 NCAA championship teams and a 2006 inductee into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame, Vallely is a cancer survivor and, for over 20 years, a member of the PCRF Board of Directors. In 1991, John and Karen Vallely lost their daughter Erin to cancer at the age of 12.
"We are very excited to once again help fund Dr. Theodore Moore's pediatric hematology/oncology division at Mattel Children's Hospital on the UCLA campus," Vallely said. "His state of the art facility is a leader in Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant, relapsed leukemia and infections in immunocompromised patients. This is the fifth year for the Bruin women's and men's basketball teams to host Dribble for the Cure on the beautiful UCLA campus. I thank everyone involved for their contributions. We are making a difference in the lives of children all over the world in their fight against cancer."
The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF), celebrating its 30th anniversary, is an independent, non-profit organization, wholly dedicated to supporting the highest quality pediatric cancer research.
Established in 1982, its founders - parents, doctors, friends and community leaders had a common vision, "To bring hope and lifesaving treatments to children battling cancer and to improve the care, quality of life and survival rate of children with malignant diseases." Since 1982, PCRF has raised almost $30 million in support of laboratory research that translates into immediate treatment for children with cancer. More information is available at www.PCRF-kids.org. This year's event is expanding on a national scale, as St. John's University hosted its second annual event Sept. 22.
Major sponsors for this year's "Dribble for the Cure" include BJ's Restaurant/Brewhouse and Polly's Pies Restaurant, owned by Eddie Sheldrake. Sheldrake competed on Coach Wooden's first three men's basketball teams (1949-51) at UCLA before his induction (2000) into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.
For more information and to register for this year's event, please visit www.dribbleforthecure.com or call (800) 354-7273.
Dribble For the Cure
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012 on UCLA's campus
8:30 a.m. - Registration (Drake Stadium)
10 a.m. - Welcome Ceremony (Drake Stadium)
10:15 a.m. - start of Dribble For the Cure
11:15 a.m. - Finish Line Festivities (John Wooden Center/Collins Court)