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ESPN’s Stuart Scott to be honored for work in fight against cancer

Stuart Scott on the set (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)
Stuart Scott (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

A short time after his magazine, “Men’s Health,” published a story on Stuart Scott’s battle with cancer, editor Bill Phillips told readers “Save your fight for when it matters. . . We can all learn a lot from Stuart Scott.”

Indeed, the ESPN commentator and multiple cancer survivor continues to fight and inspire others. Saturday in Indianapolis, Scott will be one of the three guests of honor at the 14th annual “An Evening With Heroes” celebration, which benefits the Heroes Foundation. Vince Todd, the event’s founder and chairman, will lead a conversation among fellow cancer survivors Scott, LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman and Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano (Pagano will appear via video message).

“This is going to sound weird, but there is a really cool part about cancer and that’s the community of cancer fighters,” Scott said. “Whether you are battling cancer or you love or care about someone who is, there is a bond amongst us and it’s powerful. And every time you meet someone who is in the fight, you just want to hug them. That’s why all 600 people in the room Saturday will be part of something special.”

Todd said one of the big goals of the evening is “to inspire others to share their stories by sharing ours” and to help support those battling cancer. When speaking specifically about Scott, Todd noted he admires how the ESPN SportsCenter and Monday Night Countdown host “makes the most of each day by turning his emotion into action and using his competitive spirit to fight this disease that affects us all.”

In fact, statistics show that 1 out of every 2 men and 1 out of every 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer.

“It doesn’t discriminate,” Todd said.

ESPN senior coordinating producer Gerry Matalon, who played a key role in ESPN hiring Scott 20 years ago, will be among the 600 in attendance Saturday in Indianapolis to support his friend and colleague. Matalon feels few are better suited to share their cancer story in an effort to help others.

“I can’t find a succinct way to truly describe my awe for how Stuart has battled,” Matalon said. “I am not there during his private moments, but publicly he has been an inspirational example of the awesome personal power of inner strength and determination.”

Scott, who works closely with The V Foundation for Cancer Research on many events and who was a 2011 recipient of its “Spirit of Jimmy V Award,” embodies the organization’s “Don’t Give Up. . . Don’t Ever Give Up” motto.

Said Matalon: “Stu has basically said to cancer: ‘You’ve found the wrong guy. I have a life to live. Sorry, you are not winning this fight.’”

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