SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Flanked by San Francisco Giants star Buster Posey, famed college basketball commentator Dick Vitale issued an emotional plea Tuesday for funding to battle childhood cancer.
Vital, Posey and the Giants catcher’s wife Kristen chatted with a room full of young cancer patients at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco.
The kids asked Posey – who was wearing a special Giants cap that will be sold to raise money for research — about baseball, his favorite music, fame and his 5-year-old twins. The kids were also given autographed baseballs and other gear.
“Our goal is to get your guys healthy as quickly as possible,” Posey told the kids.
Posey said he was leaning on Vitale’s knowledge from working with the Jimmy V Foundation to help he and Kristen build a strong cancer research fundraising organization in San Francisco.
“I’m hoping to learn and bring some of his passion that he’s able to communicate so well to the audience, the kids and the parents,” Posey said.
For his part, Vitale didn’t mince words when he spoke with reporters after the event. He’s believes it’s a “crime” that so little money is going to fighting and finding a cure for childhood cancer.
“If I told you this, you are not going to believe it,” he said. “Only four cents out of every dollar that is raised for cancer research goes to kids.”
“You saw this room (at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital),” he continued. “I was whispering to Buster there was a lady in front of us who was holding her baby, hugging her and crying her eyes out. They aren’t going to a baseball game like he is or out like I am. Know what they are doing? They are sitting here from 7 in the morning to 11 o’clock every night. They are chasing a dream, hoping and praying for a miracle that their child can be saved.”
Dr. Robert Goldsby, a pediatric oncologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, said the work of Posey and Vitale is vital to the fight for a cure.
“Every 40 minutes there is a parent out there who is receiving word their child has cancer,” he said. “Every 40 minutes that is a devastating change to their life.”
An estimated 15,780 children and adolescents under 19 were diagnosed with pediatric cancer in 2014, according to the National Cancer Institute. The average age of cancer diagnosis in children is 6 years.