Dick Vitale's huge fundraising gala nearly sold out

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SARASOTA - The 8th Annual Dick Vitale Gala will be held next month, and this year he will honor Florida State legend Bobby Bowden, former UConn national championship coach Jim Calhoun, and Kansas hoops coach Bill Self.

Vitale makes his paycheck as a color analyst for college basketball on ESPN, but it’s the money he raises to battle pediatric cancer that will cement his legacy. "So far we have raised $8.7 million. We need $1.3 million (to reach $10 million), and I can tell you we will get that done. We have sold out all of the raffle tickets for the Mercedes we will draw for at the gala."

His annual gala to raise even more money is May 17th at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota, and there are a few tickets left for the shindig. “We only have about 20 seats left. We have sold 780 tickets already, so if you want a ticket now, call 941-350-0580. We are going to have 40-50 celebrities, and then we’re going to be entertained post-gala…a little Motown sounds of The Temptations."

The amount Vitale has been instrumental in raising is staggering, and yet his work is far from done. “So even if you can't come to my gala and you just want to make a donation…you can find me almost every day at The Broken Egg Lakewood Ranch. It’s my office away from home. From 10-12, I am here selling t-shirts, books, I'm begging, I'm pleading."

Just like his pal, the late Jimmy Valvano exhorted us all to do, Dickie V never gives up. “Every dollar we get there goes towards the millions. It’s not easy to get a million dollars, but I am begging and I am pleading. I will do it until my last breath."