Sept. 23, 2017
QUEENS, N.Y. - In its seventh year at St. John's, the Red Storm's annual Dribble for the Cure event on Saturday morning set yet another fundraising milestone, as this year's edition generated more than $75,000 for pediatric cancer research. The cornerstone of the Red Storm's community service calendar, the event has now raised more than $500,000 at St. John's since 2011 and more than $2,000,000 all-time between affairs at St. John's and UCLA. Dribble for the Cure primarily funds the research of Dr. Mitchell Cairo, whose efforts have helped raised survival rates in certain types childhood cancers from just over 20 percent to more than 60 percent since he began his work.
The event drew a number of notable names to the Queens campus on a beautiful Saturday morning, including Coach Lou Carnesecca, Jack Kaiser, Jack Clark and John Vallely, who is the founder of Dribble for the Cure.
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 great opportunity to give back to the community," said senior Tamesha Alexander. "The children are out here and we're celebrating a great cause. It means a lot to us to be a part of this. We're all about giving back and we love children."
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. 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.
"The money that is raised today will help support our programs," Dr. Cairo said. "We're focused in many areas. In particular, we're focused in areas of children's cancer genetics, tumor immunology, stem cell biology and cell engine therapy. Many of you know that three weeks ago the FDA approved for the first time genetic engineering of immune cells for children that have relapsed or refracted leukemia and our work is in parallel to the work that is already been approved."
The final speaker before the dribbling tour of campus was Head Coach Chris Mullin, who spoke about what the event means to those fighting cancer.
"I think the biggest thing you can give people is hope," Mullin said. "People are working for a cure to cancer and other ailments and that's the number one thing. You wake up in the morning and to have hope that you can battle this terrible disease so the work of Dr. Cairo and Dribble for the Cure, and all research in all areas of different diseases is so important. The number one thing is hope."
To make a donation to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, visit www.dribbleforthecure.com.