MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- James Thomas Anthony Valvano, nicknamed “Jimmy V”, is famous for coaching the 54-52 N.C. State victory during the long odds match up against Houston in the 1983 NCAA Tournament.
Valvano’s doctor diagnosed him with bone cancer in June of 1992. During his March 4, 1993 ESPY speech, Valvano said, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
He succumbed to his cancer two months after his speech, but Jimmy V’s inspiration and determination, which defined his coaching career, carries on today.
The V Foundation for Cancer Research, formed by Valvano before he passed away and the sports network ESPN, partnered with Applebee’s to raise money and cancer awareness in Jacksonville, N.C., March 23.
The establishment continues its support of the V Foundation every year during the month of March to help raise money for research and cancer awareness with different events.
The local restaurant hosted a V Foundation car show in its parking lot March 23. Marines, their families and other base personnel attended the event.
The car show featured 32 classic cars, muscle cars, imports, trucks and sports utility vehicles and raised more than 1,000 dollars for Duke Children’s Hospital pediatric cancer research as well as cancer awareness.
Participants and spectators smashed a demolished car with a sledge hammer for $5 and bought concessions during the event adding to monies raised.
“Our main goal was for everyone who participated and showed up to have a great time, see some quality cars and raise money for children’s cancer research,” said Kristian V. Solberg, a car show judge. “It’s really cool to have people who build cars as a hobby to come out and put on a show (where) they can show off their work and have it be for a good cause too.”
Jim Williams, a car show participant, won the first place in classic auto and best in show with his 2001 Z06 Corvette.
“It was great to see everyone who came out,” Williams said. “I had a great time seeing the different cars that were shown and we raised money for cancer research, so it was all worth it even with the uncooperative weather.”
The local restaurant raised approximately $11,000 last year for the foundation. This year the franchise is aiming for $185,000.
“The fundraising ends the first week of April,” Solberg said. “The second week of April is when we start planning the next year’s events. We spend a year making sure everything is ready to rock and roll then we make it happen.”