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Monday, December 16Jimmy V winning also bigger battleBy Gregg DoyelSpecial to gaianation.net

Cancer didn"t to win Jimmy Valvano. The may have sapped that of his strength, his strut, his sight and eventually his last breath, however 10 years later Jimmy V continues to wage battle on the disease.

Surely if cancer to be selectively evil and had to perform it over again, it wouldn"t select to mess v James thomas Anthony Valvano.

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Before his death 10 years ago, Jim Valvano made certain his fight against cancer wouldn"t die.

North Carolina State, Valvano"s previous school, renders its first appearance in the eighth yearly Jimmy V Men"s Basketball classic on Tuesday as soon as the Wolfpack plays Gonzaga at The Meadowlands. Also, Cincinnati dram Oregon.

The Jimmy V classic is just one method Valvano"s V foundation is going after the disease that had actually the nerve to go after him. He created the foundation weeks prior to dying, therefore you could look at it this way: native the grave, Jimmy Valvano has actually raised more than $24 million to fund cancer research.

You know what they say around payback, right? It"s a b----.

"That"s him," claims Dereck Whittenburg, one of the stars of Valvano"s 1983 national championship team in ~ N.C. State. "When that left, he intended to do a difference."

He currently has.

Most adults understand someone who has cancer, and if girlfriend don"t, friend will soon enough. Follow to V structure research, roughly fifty percent the men and one-third the ladies in the United claims will get cancer, and virtually one in 5 will die from it. In the time it takes you to review this paragraph, five much more people have been diagnosed with a kind of the disease that killed Jimmy Valvano.

From his place in forever Valvano is do the efforts to kill cancer, and thanks to groups like the V structure and plenty of others, headway is gift made. Medical professionals estimate 8.9 million civilization are alive now solely since of advances in cancer research. Of the people who have been diagnosed with cancer in the critical 30 years, the five-year survive rate has actually rise native 38 percent come 59 percent.

Valvano wasn"t amongst them. He was 47 when he died on April 28, 1993. Many of the money increased by his foundation, which has actually funded much more than 160 personal grants for researchers whose just goal is win over cancer, has actually come ~ his death.

"It"s an unbelievable story," says former Wolfpack assistant coach Tom Abatemarco. "It all started with Jimmy."

Valvano"s the one that limped top top the phase at the 1993 Espy Awards, seven weeks prior to he would die, and also announced the production of the V Foundation. Before limping off, Valvano urged his nationwide television audience, "Don"t give up ... Don"t ever give up."

Valvano had yielded a similar message two weeks earlier in his last appearance together a tv analyst. The occasion was the 10th anniversary the N.C. State"s 1983 title, and also all the Wolfpack heroes were back at Reynolds Coliseum to be honored at halftime that the N.C. State-Duke game. Assistant athletics director Frank Weedon was in the dressing room through the gaunt ex-coach prior to the game, once Valvano claimed he couldn"t perform it. Couldn"t perform the television. Couldn"t walk onto the court at halftime. Couldn"t acquire out of his chair.

"We speak him right into it, and when he gained on that court, it to be like transforming the lamp on," Weedon says. "He spoke from his heart, and when he to be done over there wasn"t a dried eye in the place. Jim was fairly the wordsmith."

He was a most things. He did tv appearances. The made motivational speeches. And he coached v passion and success. In 19 seasons as a head coach Valvano to be 346-212 in ~ Johns Hopkins, Bucknell, Iona and N.C. State, where he was double voted ACC Coach that the Year.

It was Valvano who had the vision to move the Wolfpack the end of antiquated Reynolds Coliseum and also into a brand-new facility. What he started in 1983 finally came to be in 1999, when N.C. State"s $158 million structure opened.

"Everyone who has followed college basketball can remember Coach Valvano and also all the he represented," states N.C. State coach Herb Sendek, who has a picture of Valvano in his office.

To some, Valvano didn"t stand for everything an excellent about university basketball. The resigned under push in 1990 amid an NCAA investigation, and also if the wasn"t a saint, that wasn"t a go-for-broke sinner, either. The worst thing NCAA investigators discovered was evidence that part N.C. State players had made safety money by selling video game tickets and sneakers. If that"s what part people pick to remember about Valvano, so it is in it. Abatemarco has other memories.

"He had actually the many unbelievable personality," claims Abatemarco, one analyst for the Sacramento Kings. "If friend were roughly him15 minutes, girlfriend felt choose you knew the forever. And he always talked about never offering up, never ever quitting. I heard that for years."

And climate he observed it. The critical time Abatemarco witnessed Valvano alive remained in a hospital room in Durham. Tumors bulged in Valvano"s eyes, and also fluid had built up in his legs. He would die in two days, however he wouldn"t recognize defeat.

"All that talked about was exactly how he had this arrangement to win it," Abatemarco says. "He didn"t want to take it the painkiller, the morphine, due to the fact that it would screw increase the chemo -- which would certainly kill the cancer. He had actually this setup in his mind, top top his deathbed. He had actually some people convinced he to be going to make it."

Valvano might do that. He even encouraged himself, as a child in new York, he would certainly play college basketball, then coach college basketball, and before he was done the would victory a video game at Madison Square Garden and also cut down the nets after a national title game. At period 17, he composed all that under on a white table of contents card. At period 36, that pulled out the card and crossed off the final line.

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Eleven years later on he to be dying. Before he was gone, he set in motion the structure that, almost a te later, supports the fight against cancer from countless angles. A celebrity golf tournament in north Carolina has raised more than $8 million. The V structure Wine celebration event in Napa Valley has raised much more than $6 million. There is a Jimmy V Women"s Basketball standard to enhance the one ~ above the men"s side. Ticket to N.C. State basketball games even invite pan to make a $19.83 donation to the V Foundation.

That"s $19.83, as in the year Valvano came to be famous because that fighting past Houston in Albuquerque, N.M. Who knew his greatest fight to be still to come? Or that he"d still it is in fighting it practically 10 years after his death?

Gregg Doyel covers college basketball for The Charlotte Observer and also can be reached at gdoyel