Every year in the middle of July ESPN host’s their annual award show, the ESPY’s. The show honors the best athletes and athletic moments of the year but the most meaningful awards of the night are The Arthur Ashe Courage Award and the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. The Arthur Ashe award is given to a person whose actions transcend sports. The first recipient was Jim Valvano, the coach who the Jimmy V award for Perseverance was named after. Coach Valvano’s acceptance speech is perhaps the most famous in recent history and certainly the most meaningful as it launched The V Foundation for cancer research.

ESPN now considers the day of the ESPYs as #JimmyV day where they auction off prizes and experiences to raise money for the V foundation. Valvano’s motivational words to make sure you “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” have touched millions. Someone else who Jimmy V inspired was Stuart Scott, who received the Perseverance Award for the way he battled cancer until the final days of his life.

Stuart also left a lasting legacy and memory during his acceptance speech when he reminded the world that, “When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live. So live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”

Shortly before he passed away Stuart Scott wrote his memoirs, a love letter to life itself, inspiring the world to keep fighting or, as Jimmy V would put it, “Don’t ever give up.”

You can view Stuart’s book and many others like it here. Today may be #JimmyV day but these moving stories of battling cancer can raise awareness about the fight of this disease all year long. These books will make you laugh, make you think and very likely, make you cry. But Jimmy V wouldn’t have it any other way. As he would put it, “That’s a full day.”


Adam and Jason Sockel are brothers who work at OverDrive together. Jimmy V is an idol to them both.