We all know someone who has fallen victim to cancer, in some capacity, at one point or another. Whether it's a family member, a close friend, or a friend of a friend, the disease that is diagnosed roughly 1.2 million times every year in America is never good news.
But what if it is you? As much as we can research the facts and care for those affected, can all of us really understand the depths of cancer without living through it ourselves?
Steve Lavin could. And so too could the other eight million Americans who have fought or are currently fighting the dreaded disease.
There's one thing that is universally certain. We need to find a reliable cure to combat cancer and clear it from our lives. Strides have been made, but there is work to be done. Too much work.
St. John's University and the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) are once again teaming up to move society just a bit closer to that goal. The fundraising event called "Dribble for the Cure" (on Twitter) is just one example of how St. John's sticks to its Vincentian values and knows what it means to help others.
More, below the fold.
Shortly after Red Storm head coach Steve Lavin was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the school held its first ever Dribble for the Cure event on campus last September to raise awareness and funds for cancer.
The light-hearted event gave families an opportunity to meet the Johnnies men's and women's teams and coaches, while dribbling a basketball throughout campus. Fun always feels better when its purpose is a good cause.
The day, which consisted of over 400 participants and over $21,000 raised for Dr. Mitchell S. Cairo and the Pedatric Cancer Research Laboratory, was an overwhelming success. Lavin and then-women's head coach Kim Barnes Arico led the dribblers through the campus on a 40-minute walk and introduced their student-athletes to the crowd.
St. John's will hold its second annual Dribble for the Cure on Saturday, September 22nd beginning at 10 a.m. outside Taffner Fieldhouse. Lavin and new women's head coach Joe Tartamella will welcome fans to the Queens Campus on what is quickly becoming a University tradition.
Though it is not in a basketball setting, fans will get the opportunity to meet many of the Red Storm's incoming student-athletes in person. Last year, new faces Moe Harkless, D'Angelo Harrison, Sir`Dominic Pointer, Phil Greene, and God`sgift Achiuwa participated in the event.
Before Chris Obekpa, JaKarr Sampson, Jamal Branch, Felix Balamou, Orlando Sanchez, Marco Bourgault can help their new team reach its goals on the court, they will help their University reach its goal of contributing to the fight against pediatric cancer. Sometimes, things in life must be prioritized.
"Dribble for the Cure is such a natural fit for us. Under the St. John's University Service Day umbrella, our team is able to champion the cause of finding a cure for cancer," mentioned Lavin. "The Johnnies can act as a catalyst to galvanize others to raise awareness and funding, so the medical experts here in New York can work toward improved care, and ultimately succeed in their battle against the disease."
PCRF is a non-profit organization that has aimed to improve the lives of children with serious diseases since 1982. In its thirty years of existence, the group and its volunteers have raised over $30 million for pedatric cancer research. It is events like Dribble for the Cure that make it all possible.
"We are excited to be part of PCRF's Dribble for the Cure event for the second year," Tartamella expressed. "Our community here at St. John's University embraces the opportunity to be part of this great cause for pedatric cancer."
Former New York Knicks guard John Starks is also expected to be in attendance at the event.
One in every 330 children under the age of 19 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. If Dribble for the Cure can raise funds to save just one life, it would have all been worth it.
For more information about the details of this year's event and how to get involved, check out the official press release from St. John's Athletics.