Livescore Thursday, April 25

Dick Vitale’s boisterous and booming voice has served as college basketball’s soundtrack for a generation of fans since he began working at ESPN in 1979. But Vitale, 84, had his voice and livelihood taken from him in a cruel twist of fate for large swaths of the last two years as he’s fought cancer — first with melanoma in 2021 and later with vocal cord (laryngeal) cancer.

The irony is not lost on him that what made him one of the most affable and recognizable personalities within the college basketball ecosystem was stripped from him. Nor is it that cancer — which he has fought hard to raise funds for as an advocate over the years against childhood cancer through the V Foundation — has plagued him the last several years and deprived him of pursuing his passion at full throttle.

Yet in several life-changing moments the last few years in which stewing and stirring in the soup of crummy news would have been understandable, and maybe even expected, Vitale has chosen instead not just to make lemonade out of lemons but to share with everyone his recipe along the way. 

And share he does. On social media, he shares photos and updates. Over texts, he shares time (like for this interview!) with strangers and coaches alike. And in his new book, Until My Last Breath: Fighting Cancer With My Young Heroes, Vitale will tell you about his story, his struggles with cancer and what it was like when his purpose in life was put in peril. After a brief bout with melanoma in 2021, he rang the bell in 2022 only to be diagnosed months later with throat cancer which required intense treatment, vocal rest and eventually, surgery.

“I thought my life’s purpose of helping these kids was being taken from me,” Vitale writes in his book. 

“The monster that is cancer has taken away the most precious gift God gave me. I’ve made my career, my livelihood, my very name with my voice. And now, as fate would have it, my third bout with cancer has punched me with a knockout blow to the very essence of who I am.”

Sharing his everyday struggles on social media helped provide a glimpse into the rigors of life as a cancer patient. Sharing helped Vitale, too, with words of encouragement and prayers showered upon him on Instagram and X (formerly known as Twitter) that helped keep him going. Sharing his story in his latest book is just a sample of what he wants to spread to the world — with a heavy sprinkling of other stories that have inspired and impacted him and many others during his decades-long advocacy against children’s cancer. His hope is that you will find inspiration of your own from his or many other stories shared within with whatever fight you’re in. 

With the college basketball regular season winding down in early March, Vitale, who underwent intense vocal cord surgery earlier this year, shared that his doctor has granted him permission to speak again and believes the surgery healed him. He’s cleared to go off of vocal rest and cleared at his own pace to return to broadcasting. Already having resumed speaking, there’s no doubt Vitale wants to be back on the sideline in 2024 … and beyond.

“I’m trying to be the first 100-year-old broadcaster, baby!” he writes.

His voice may not have been booming over basketball broadcasts or blessing the airwaves at ESPN much the last few years, but Dickie V’s voice of advocacy against pediatric cancer and passion for young ones these days speaks at volumes that even Vitale in his prime could not reach.

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