QUEENS, N.Y. — The cornerstone of the Red Storm’s vibrant community service schedule, Dribble for the Cure went off without a hitch on Saturday morning, as the St. John’s men’s and women’s basketball programs teamed up to raise over $100,000 for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. 2015 marks Dribble for the Cure’s fifth year at St. John’s, placing the Red Storm’s cumulative fundraising efforts at more than $255,000.
Held in conjunction with University Service Day, the event drew several hundred members of the St. John’s community to Carnesecca Arena. Accompanied by the band, cheer and dance teams, and members of various other support groups, the participants gathered for a festival-like atmosphere before the tour of campus began just after 11:30 a.m.
The event began with several speakers greeting the assembled crowd. The first was PCRF Executive Director Jeri Wilson, who thanked the St. John’s community for its outstanding support of the cause over the past half decade. Next up was Dr. Mitchell Cairo, Chief of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation at New York Medical College. Dr. Cairo was eager to report that since the PCRF started funding research over three decades ago, the survival rate of children affected by cancer has risen from just 20 percent to over 80 percent.
Next to the podium was Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph. D., President, St. John’s University, who spoke briefly about how giving back in efforts like this was a vital part of the University’s Vincentian Mission.
“At St. John’s, doing our best is a way of life,” said Gempesaw. “So today we will do our best to do good because we are St. John’s.”
The final speaker before the event began was Head Coach Chris Mullin.
“I want to thank you all for being here today to support the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and the work of Dr. Cairo,” said Mullin. “Dribble for the Cure has helped raise great awareness and funding for children’s cancer research. Because of your support with this event, PCRF and Dr. Cairo’s research contributes to increased survival rates of children with cancer and blood disorders. We encourage you all to keep coming back and keep supporting.”
Coach Mullin then went on to recognize a few distinguished guests in the crowd. First, Mullin acknowledged Lou Carnesecca and Jack Kaiser, a pair of St. John’s legends that greatly influenced his choice to return home. Mullin then turned his attention to a pair of former NBA superstars, Knicks great Larry Johnson and Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond. Last, but certainly not least, Mullin invited four pediatric cancer survivors to the podium to help him kick off the event.
About The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF)
The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) is an independent, nonprofit organization, wholly dedicated to funding leading-edge pediatric cancer research nationwide. Since its founding in 1982, PCRF has raised more than $36 million toward the ultimate goal of ending pediatric cancers so children and their families can re-focus on the joys of childhood. This commitment has translated into immediate treatment for children with cancer by developing innovative treatment protocols, improving patients’ long-term quality of life, and supporting those scientists working on the precipice of important medical breakthroughs. For more information, please visit www.PCRF-kids.org.