Dick Vitale cried like a baby when he heard eight-year-old Lacey Holsworth, who had a beautiful friendship with Michigan State Spartans forward Adreian Payne, lost her three-year battle with cancer on April 8th.
Vitale didn’t know how to console “Princess Lacey’s” parents Heather and Matt Holsworth, but he called Matt and with both overcome with emotion, Vitale made a promise to Matt to help raise $250,000 in Lacey’s name for a pediatric cancer research grant through The V Foundation for Cancer Research and that he would do it by the night of his fundraising gala on Friday, according to ESPN.
“We can’t save the girl with the angel smile, but we can try to save others in her name,” Vitale said. “We already have $175,000 raised, and I’m confident we’ll get the rest at the gala.”
“I’m going to be 75 in June, and I have lived the most blessed of lives,” Vitale said. “With my last breath I’m going to beg and plead to get people who can help to help. They may be saving a life they love.”
Vitale’s ninth annual gala raised $1.7 million last year and should pass the $12 million dollar mark on Friday’s gala that will honor Alabama football coach Nick Saban, Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey and Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean.
It was sports that gave Lacey something to focus on when she was in so much pain as she continued to fight and now her legacy continues to live on through the help of sports and Vitale.