As a lot of you will know, Mike Krzyzewski was good friends with the late Jim Valvano before after his cancer diagnosis, they were more like brothers. V came to Duke for his treatment and Coach K spent a lot of time with him in the hospital. He was also a pallbearer at his funeral.
Since then, he’s been a passionate supporter of the V Foundation and has helped it to raise a ton of money to help end cancer.
Every year they do a fundraiser in Napa Valley and K has been a regular there as well. This year, they raised $12 million which will go to help immunotherapy research.
Look how many people die of cancer. Bobby Bowden was just taken by pancreatic cancer. Last year, Chadwick Boseman, who shot to international fame when he played the Black Panther for Marvel, died of colon cancer.
It’s broken far too many hearts so we’re glad that the Foundation has done so much good work. We also want to take a minute to mention Coach K’s involvement again. Competition tends to blind us to other things but Krzyzewski has always given of himself and not just financially. We’ve linked to dozens of stories over the years of people who got a letter of support out of the blue, or who he invited to Cameron, people who were in lonely struggles who just glowed after getting that unexpected boost.
Duke fans know it but for the rest of the sports world, it’s not nearly as familiar. Mike Krzyzewski is supremely competitive on the basketball court, but the stuff he does off of it is just as impressive, it not more so, because he doesn’t have to do any of it and he rarely calls attention to it either.