Last year, Coach Ben Howland, former NCAA champion guard John Vallely, and the current UCLA basketball team held the inaugural Dribble for the Cure event at Pauley Pavilion to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. The event saw 343 participants enjoy the festivities at Pauley and raised over $60,000 to fight children's cancer.
UCLA has recently announced that the basketball team will continue this new tradition Saturday, November 1, at Pauley Pavilion. Last year's festivities included prize giveaways and an autograph session with the entire team. I would expect them to do the same this year. I'd encourage anyone who can make it out to register for the event and spend a Saturday morning at Pauley Pavilion.
Even if you can't make it to campus, there are still ways to support this worthy cause:
I will be participating this November in honor of my son, Tyler, who (as many of you know) has been battling Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma for two and a half years now. This summer has unfortunately been a very difficult one in which Tyler has had to confront many setbacks, including relapses in his central nervous system that required a reservoir to be implanted into his brain, some impairment of motor skills, Bell's palsy, and the migration of cancer cells into his bone marrow. This last event has necessitated a hematopoietic (blood) stem cell transplant. I am actually writing this post from his bedside at City of Hope, where Tyler has just completed his conditioning regimen comprised of total body irradiation and high dose chemotherapy. He is scheduled to receive stem cells from an unrelated donor this Tuesday. At that point, he'll have a whole new battle to deal with.
He will still be in isolation when Dribble for the Cure rolls around in November, but I (or a relative depending on the circumstances at the time) will be attending to get him an autographed ball from the team. If you would like to show your support for him with a donation, you may do so by visiting his pledge page at:
I don't typically solicit funds on a fan blog. But as has been demonstrated repeatedly- this site isn't just about fandom. It's about family.
-Derek (UCLA, Class of '95)
P.S.- I should note that while cancer has ravaged Tyler's body, his spirit is still as strong as ever. He still makes me laugh every day. He still amazes me with something new every day. And he still dreams about playing hoops for the Mighty Bruins.
photo taken 08/30/09