Nov. 2, 2011
The fourth annual Dribble For The Cure was held on the UCLA campus on Sunday, Oct. 30, setting record numbers for participation and donations to help find a cure for children's cancer.
The event totaled approximately 900 participants with a net revenue of over $115,000 as Ben Howland's UCLA men's basketball team, Cori Close's Bruin women's basketball squad 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 four-event total of nearly 3,000 participants contributing over $376,000 in the fight against children's cancer. Included in this year's participant total were a record pre-registered 500 Dribblers.
Starting at Drake Stadium and finishing at Collins Court in the Wooden Center, the participants dribbled a basketball around 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 2011-12 UCLA women's and men's basketball teams.
"It is overwhelming to see this enormous show of support for finding new cures for children with cancer," said Dr. Theodore B. Moore, Interim Chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. "So many I spoke with were touched by cancer in a family member, friend or even themselves. This just goes to show what can happen when a group of people selflessly work together and accomplish great things as a team."
Nancy Franks, Executive Director of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, has been involved with UCLA's Dribble For The Cure since its inception in 2008. "It's been so amazing and rewarding to see the growth of this event each year," Franks said. "Seeing the interaction between the student-athletes, their fans and children fighting to overcome pediatric cancer has proven to be a formidable force in raising funds for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. We are so grateful for the continuing support of the UCLA Athletic Department and the Bruin women's and men's basketball teams and staff."
Howland has also been involved with the Dribble event since 2008. "I can remember when John Vallely came to me and presented the idea and asked if our team would be involved, and I immediately responded, `We're in,' " Howland said. "This event has 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."
"Our teams and staff have been involved in this event for four years, and every year it's grown considerably in terms of participants and donations," Howland continued. "Last Sunday was the biggest and best of all the Dribble events as we continue in our efforts to cure pediatric cancer."
For first-year head coach Close, this was her first Dribble For The Cure event. "When I arrived at UCLA last April and was told about Dribble For The Cure, I was thinking what a great event this is for our team to be involved in. After our team's participation last Sunday, I now know what a great event it is and for such a wonderful cause, conquering children's cancer. All of us here in UCLA Athletics want to thank all the participants for their involvement and record donations. "
For many years, 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 and 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 very pleased with the progress of Dribble For The Cure, especially in this difficult economic environment," said Vallely. "Everyone who has attended this event the last four years has truly enjoyed their experience. The UCLA women's and men's basketball teams, along with other Bruin women and men student-athletes who also volunteer, continue to reach out to the community to make a difference in the lives of others.
"Many more individuals and businesses are supporting this event. On Sunday we had Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisees and BJ's Restaurant Brewhouse join us as major sponsors. The UCLA Band, cheerleaders and even the KFC Colonel were there, too. I'm thrilled that this was our best year ever for Dribble For The Cure. Thanks to coaches Howland and Close, the entire UCLA staff and all our volunteers as we move closer than ever to eliminating children's cancer."
Team (a minimum of 10) and Individual participants collected pledges for their `Dribble' to become eligible for prizes based on pledge amounts. Each participant also received an official Dribble For The Cure t-shirt and goodie bag. Below is a list of the top team and individual fundraisers.
Team Jackson ($13,421)
Wayne Kamemoto ($12,005)
Code Orange, Hematology/Oncology Nurses from Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA ($7,180)
Calabasas Kids For The Cure ($6,020)