For the sixth-consecutive year, the St. John’s men’s and women’s basketball programs hosted Dribble for the Cure on Saturday morning, raising a record-breaking amount with more than $105,000 generated for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.
The event has now raised more than $500,000 at St. John’s since 2011 and more than $1,000,000 all-time between affairs at St. John’s and UCLA.
Dribble for the Cure primarily funds the research of Dr. Mitchell Cairo, whose work has helped raise survival rates in certain types of childhood cancers from just over 20 percent to more than 60 percent.
The event began with a street fair in Carnesecca Plaza around 11 a.m., as the St. John’s men’s and women’s basketball teams interacted with fans in a carnival-type atmosphere.
“It’s a really special event,” said sophomore Yankuba Sima. “We like to help the kids and we know they look up to us. It’s always good to have fun with them and see the smiles on their faces.”
Just after 11:30 a.m., Jeri Wilson, the executive director of the PCRF, addressed the crowd to thank them for their continued support of such a worthy cause.
“I’ve watched this event grow so it’s really cool to watch an event from California come out here to New York and be able to pass on the love and generosity that you guys have for the research we’ve supported for over 35 years,” said Wilson.
After Wilson spoke, Dr. Cairo stepped to the microphone to give an update on how his research, funded by the support of events like Dribble for the Cure, has helped save the lives of hundreds of children affected by pediatric cancer.
“Our program is focused on two really different areas: how do we cure the patient’s who are not responding well to traditional therapy and how do we develop therapies that are going to be more gentle and kinder to the patients and their families so they could continue to live better and longer lives,” said Dr. Cairo. “We’ve made huge progress in that today. I can tell you in the six years that St. John’s has supported this event, we’ve probably increased the cure rate in children who didn’t respond to their initial treatment with maybe a 20 percent survival chance to well over 60 percent now surviving from the research that’s been generated with the funds from this event.”
The final speaker before the dribbling tour of campus was Head Coach Chris Mullin, who spoke to the crowd about how his St. John’s education taught him that service to others should always be a primary focus in life. In doing so, Mullin recognized two St. John’s legends in attendance for the event, Athletics Director Emeritus John W. Kaiser and Hall of Famer Lou Carnesecca.
“Two of my biggest influences in life, Mr. Kaiser and Coach Carnesecca, are here and the biggest thing I was taught on and off the court was to give back,” said Mullin. “Off the court, that’s what St. John’s is all about: taking care of your brother. On the court, I tell my guys I was taught by Coach Carnesecca that a good player can do for himself but a great player does for other people. And that’s what we’re all here to do today.”
Story courtesy of St. John’s University Athletics