St. John’s Hosts Dribble For The Cure
BY DAVID RUSSELL
St. John’s University raised more than $25,000 with its second Dribble For The Cure event last Saturday. St. John’s teamed up with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, with the proceeds benefiting cancer research in New York.
Members of the Red Storm’s men’s and women’s basketball teams dribbled basketballs around its Queens campus with fans and supporters. The day had special meaning for men’s head coach Steve Lavin, who will return to the sidelines after missing the majority of last season while recovering from cancer. The now cancer-free coach spoke of seeing things with more clarity.
“That’s one of the great things about St. John’s. There are three pillars: poverty, education and social justice,” he said. “This is an opportunity for players to serve and realize there are things more important than basketball.”
PCRF board member John Vallely said he was pleased with the progress made from last year’s fundraiser.
“We have some experience in the community,” Vallely said. “The staff knows what’s needed and has improved by its own effort. I’m excited for the prospects for St. John’s and everybody associated with St. John’s and people affected by cancer.”
Vallely, a two-time national champion at UCLA, lost his daughter Erin to cancer, and was diagnosed himself before overcoming the disease. “It’s a fun experience once a year to come out for a few hours. It’s a movement that is gaining steam.”
Vallely said he is also interested in teaming up with Steve Vesce, managing director of Sportsideo, to bring attention to the cause.
“Sportsideo is a company committed to using sports to reach their goals,” Vesce said. “It’s an organization to better help people’s lives. Sports activities are good. People who share these experiences communicate better. Everyday activities like dribbling a basketball can help raise money.”
St. John’s legends Lou Carnesecca and Jack Kaiser were also on hand for the festivities. Carnesecca won 526 games as head coach for the men’s basketball team over four decades and is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Today, the basketball arena bears his name.
Kaiser was head baseball coach from 1956-73 before becoming athletic director, a position he held until 1995. Kaiser was recently inducted into the NYC Basketball Hall of Fame. Also in attendance was New York Knicks icon John Starks.
“It’s great. People come out and support a great event to raise money for pediatric cancer,” Starks said. “To see Coach Lavin and Coach Carnesecca be a part of this, it’s great to have it here, right outside the city.”