Graham travels to Sarasota, Florida, to sit down with exuberant college basketball analyst, Dick Vitale. The Hall of Fame broadcaster – a stalwart at ESPN for more than four decades – emotionally recalls recent cancer and vocal cord battles, which he refers to as the toughest seven months of his life. Plus, we hear from those closest to “Dickie V,” including his immediate family, the medical team that fought alongside him and fellow ESPN talents Jay Bilas and Kevin Negandhi. They recount a roller coaster of emotions during those seven months – depression, terror, dedication and eventually, multiple reasons to celebrate.
Dick Vitale on skin cancer: Looked like I went rounds with Tyson, Ali
Dick Vitale recounts his recent bout with melanoma, including the initial surgery to remove the cancer cells and subsequent plastic surgeries to alleviate nearly any scars. Dickie V says the plastic surgeries specifically had him looking like he got beat up by a combination of Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Muhammad Ali, but at the end of the day he’s grateful for winning the battle vs. skin cancer.
Dick Vitale: Celebrating my lymphoma diagnosis
Dick Vitale walks us through his back-to-back bouts with cancer, including a serious surgery due to melanoma and a last-minute lymphoma diagnosis that saved Dickie V from an unnecessary, life-threatening surgery. Later, Dr. Rick Brown and Dick’s daughter Terri join the conversation to detail how Dick’s symptoms eventually led the medical team to pivot from treating him for bile duct cancer to a correct diagnosis of lymphoma. Dick and his family explain why the altered diagnosis was an immediate cause for celebration.
Dick Vitale: Fueled by social media support during darkest hours
Vitale explains his determination to transparently post on social media while undergoing treatments for melanoma, lymphoma and Dysplasia over the last seven months. His daughter Terri reveals how the messages and comments that flooded Dickie V’s social media platforms fueled him through his darkest hours, especially while Dysplasia prevented him from talking. Terri goes on to say she doesn’t know how her dad would have gotten through these hard times without the love and support he received online and how his approach throughout the process was motivated by “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts.
How Dick Vitale raised $11 million in one night
Graham sits down with Dick, his wife Lorraine and daughter Terri prior to the 2022 Dick Vitale Gala – who collectively detail the family’s tumultuous last year and how it only adds context for the Gala’s mission. Dick and Lorraine explain the importance of his annual gala and the critical need to increase funding for pediatric cancer research, which has fallen behind relative to other cancer research initiatives.
Dick Vitale: A stranger to myself while muted for 3 months
Vitale remembers the standing ovations and crowds chanting his name when he returned to color commentating NCAA games for ESPN last fall, and how that reception was short-lived due to Dysplasia on his vocal cords. Dickie V recalls returning to the specialist who treated him for a similar ailment 14 years ago – Dr. Steven Zeitels – and adhering to the doctor’s order to restrain from speaking for three months. Dick and his wife Lorraine illustrate how this limitation severely impacted Dick’s mental health, causing him to feel trapped and incapable of being himself.
Step by step with Dick Vitale during final chemo treatment
College basketball icon Dick Vitale and his family graciously allow us to walk with him as he officially kicks cancer, including conversations bedside during his final chemotherapy treatment and a celebration outside with Dr. Rick Brown and his team as Dickie V rings the ceremonious bell to commemorate the victory over his personal bout with cancer. Dick’s Ukrainian nurse Alla explains why she enjoys working with him more than typical American patients.
Dick Vitale: Saving, investing a portion of every check
Dick Vitale recalls two key financial lessons from his parents that he still subscribes to today – the value of saving or investing a portion of every paycheck and the mantra that prevents him from overspending.
Dick Vitale: Boom baby vs. Awesome baby
Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Vitale offers quick takes when forced to choose between two options, including his career as a teacher as an analyst on ESPN, half-court shot or dunk, championship game or rivalry game, and a couple trademark calls.
Dick Vitale on family: By my side throughout battles
Vitale reflects on the consistent presence of his family throughout his recent chemotherapy treatments and doctor visits. In turn, his wife Lorraine and daughter Terri offer stories of Dickie V’s presence throughout their lives, including his persistent requests to dance when first meeting his future wife and his impeccable memory when offering Terri scouting reports for tennis matches.
Behind the scenes at Dick Vitale’s home and chemo treatment
We spent time with Dickie V and his wife Lorraine at their sprawling home, then joined the Vitale’s at Sarasota Memorial Hospital for Dick’s final chemotherapy treatment and bell ringing ceremony.