Last night Stuart Scott became the eighth recipient of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. Named after former North Carolina State University basketball coach, Jimmy Valvano who died of bone cancer in 1993, the award is given to members of the sports community who have “overcome great obstacles through physical perseverance and determination.” Valvano’s seven words during his 1993 ESPYs acceptance speech marked the creation of the V Foundation and, as Scott showed the sports community and the world last night, marked hearts. Scott invoked Valvano’s seven words, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up,” and indicated that these words give him the strength to go on as he battles appendiceal cancer. “I know I have a responsibility to never give up,” said Scott. Moments later, before an already emotional audience–including cancer survivor Robin Roberts–Scott turned dozens of cancer cliches on their head with his own seven words, “You beat cancer by how you live.”
More often than not when someone dies from cancer the outcry is that they lost the battle or even more colorful language is used to give cancer the proverbial finger. But last night Stuart Scott reminded the world that cancer shouldn’t have the last word in death nor can we allow it to steal our joy in life. Scott gave many a new outlook on life with his words and his presence on stage last night and for that we are thankful.
Keep not giving up Stuart Scott, keep beating cancer by how you live.