Sept. 2, 2012
The fifth annual Dribble For The Cure will take place on the UCLA campus on Sunday, Oct. 21. Once again, Cori Close's UCLA women's basketball team, Ben Howland's Bruin men's basketball squad and the UCLA Athletic Department will join forces with UCLA basketball alumnus John Vallely, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) and the Cancer Research Program at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA for a fund-raising event to benefit children with cancer.
Proceeds will help support the treatment of children with cancer at the Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. Last year's fourth-annual event set record numbers for participation and revenue, with approximately 900 participants dribbling a basketball across the UCLA campus and donating over $115,000. 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.
"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; John Vallely; the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and 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. "Dribble For The Cure is a combined effort that has tremendous impact on the lives of patients and their families providing access to new and innovative therapies. Although we can expect that as many as 80% of children may be cured of their cancer, 20% of children are not. We need to develop new treatments for those children and also find therapies with fewer side effects. Dribble For The Cure helps make that happen."
The event begins on Oct. 21 with registration at 8:30 am at UCLA's Drake Stadium, where activity booths and entertainment will highlight a Welcome Ceremony at 10 am. Dribble For The Cure V will begin at 10:15 am, and each participant is asked to bring their own basketball (or buy a basketball on site) for the 1.2 mile dribble course through the UCLA campus. Finish line festivities (11:15 am) will take place at the John Wooden Center on 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, the Oct. 21 event will honor Ken Heitz, a starting guard/forward on John Wooden's 1967, 1968, and 1969 NCAA Championship men's basketball teams who died on July 9 at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer. Heitz and Vallely were the starting guards on Coach Wooden's 1969 UCLA NCAA Championship squad.
"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 on Oct. 21 is to set a new fund-raising 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 Dribble For The Cure. "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 Bruin starting guard on Coach Wooden's 1969 and 1970 UCLA NCAA Championship men's basketball 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."
"This year's Dribble For The Cure will honor three-time NCAA Champion Ken Heitz," Vallely said. "Ken played a major role in the 1967, '68 and '69 UCLA National Championships under Coach John Wooden. As Ken's backcourt running mate in 1969, I know how important he was at making everyone a better player when he was on the basketball court. We both have fought cancer at the most difficult level, and I lost a great friend when Ken passed away in July after his valiant battle with 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 Dribble For The Cure is expanding on a national scale, with St. John's University hosting its second annual event and the University of Washington hosting its first.
Major sponsors for UCLA's Dribble For The Cure V are BJ's Restaurant/Brewhouse and Polly's Pies Restaurant, owned by Eddie Sheldrake. Sheldrake was a UCLA guard/forward on Coach Wooden's first three Bruin men's basketball teams (1949-51) and in 2000 was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.
For more Dribble For The Cure V information and to register, please visit www.dribbleforthecure.com/ucla or call 1-800-354-7273.
Dribble For The Cure V/Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012/UCLA 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 V
11:15 a.m. - Finish Line Festivities (John Wooden Center/Collins Court)