The St. John’s men’s and women’s basketball teams joined forces Saturday morning, Sept. 28 with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) for the fifth annual St. John’s Dribble for the Cure. The event welcomed several hundred members of the SJU community and both programs helped raised a record breaking $100,000.
In unity with University Service Day, the Dribble for the Cure fundraiser increased to over $255,000, since it was first held on campus in 2011. The event continues to give back to Dr. Mitchell S. Cairo, chief of Pediatric Hematology at New York Medical College, which focuses on improving patients’ long term quality of life and the survival rate of children battling cancer. Dr. Cairo was also pleased to announce that the survival rate of children affected by cancer has risen from 20% to over 80% since PCRF was established in 1982.
“This is a wonderful event that brings everyone together for children’s cancer research,” St.John’s new men’s basketball head coach Chris Mullin said. “Cancer affects everybody at some point. I lost both my parents to cancer and my brother is battling cancer right now. It’s a disease I hate and I’ll do anything to get rid of it. To bring people together for a common cause and to do it here with Coach Carnesecca and Mr. Kaiser is very special.”
Coach Mullin would acknowledge the crowd and recognize a pair of prestigious guests in St. John’s legends Lou Carnessca and Jack Kaiser, both of whom had a tremendous impact on his decision to return home. Mullin would then address a pair of retired NBA All-Stars in former Knicks great Larry Johnson and Hall of Famer/exteammate from the Golden State Warriors Mitch Richmond. Lastly, Mullin invited four pediatric cancer survivors to the stage to help him kick-off the event.
The players would get together with the cancer survivors and dribble around campus from the outside of Carnesecca, up the hills to DAC, straight ahead into the dormitory area, up to the Great Lawn and back.
Players from both programs enjoyed a great time and reflected on Dribble for the Cure.
“Giving back is always special,” said junior transfer guard Durand Johnson. “The kids come out and want to have fun, meet the players and enjoy the day. It’s always good for me to give back and help out in some type of way, no matter if it was signing autographs or just playing basketball with the kids, having fun and enjoying a good time. That is what it’s all about.”
“The most rewarding feeling is just seeing the kids smiling,” said senior guard Danejah Grant. “Letting them know that we care about them and that it’s not just about us and that this day is for them to smile. It shows that we can come together as a unit. Put everything else aside and we make sure that the kids come first today and it just benefits the entire University.”