ESPN and The V Foundation align with NBA Cares, St. Jude in fight against pediatric cancer

ESPN, The V Foundation for Cancer Research, the NBA and St. Jude Children Research Hospital are deploying a full-court press against pediatric cancer.

The alliance is aimed at raising awareness and funds to support research to save children’s lives. Hoops for St. Jude ambassadors and ESPN commentators will engage fans over the air through March 4, the 20th anniversary of The V Foundation.

ESPN’s Kevin Martinez. (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

One hundred percent of donations to The V Foundation from this campaign will go directly towards cancer research benefitting St. Jude patients.

Front Row asked ESPN’s Vice President of Corporate Outreach, Kevin Martinez, for insights into this campaign.

How did ESPN become involved in this project?
For years, the NBA and ESPN have been looking for ways to work together under the NBA Cares banner. Both organizations have a great passion and commitment to help find a cure for cancer as its impact has touched us all personally. NBA Cares has worked closely with teams, coaches, players and St. Jude Hospital. The V Foundation has raised over $100 million to get at the heart of beating cancer — funding research for all cancers. Together they have made incredible progress in raising awareness and funds to find treatments for pediatric cancer.

Two years ago, Rosa Gatti, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Outreach, began conversations with NBA Cares. Through these conversations, The V Foundation’s world class scientific review committee selected St. Jude Hospital for research grants totaling more than $2 million, and these targeted grants were realizing significant success in the remission of two types of pediatric cancers.

As in all great collaboration stories, a common purpose, great vision and leadership willing to take risk to innovate began the realization of two of the most well-known nonprofit cancer research organizations working together towards one shared belief: We need to battle cancer with research, not just words, and win.

How can fans get involved?
“Your child has cancer” might be the four scariest, most devastating words a parent could ever hear. ESPN and the NBA are committed to arming doctors and scientists with the resources they need by introducing more people to the lifesaving work being funded by The V Foundation.

Fans will have the opportunity to support the pediatric cancer awareness campaign in a variety of ways, including donating at, or donating $10 by texting JIMMYV to 80888. If you can’t give, The V Foundation has a great saying, “Pass The V.” The odds are that someone in your immediate family will be affected by cancer and cancer is the leading cause of death for children 1-14 years of age. Pass this “V” message to your friends and family and let them know how important this research is to every family’s future.

To learn how The V Foundation’s grants have made a difference for a St. Jude patient, read about Isaac.

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