By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –
Chances are that each BVN reader likely knows at least one family member touched by cancer. To put it into perspective, cancer is on pace to overtake heart disease as the number one taker of human life, worldwide. The World Health Organization sites nearly 13 million new cases each year.
In 1999, the Pump family lost their patriarch, Harold Pump, to the ravishes of the disease. In his honor, sons David and Dana launched the Harold Pump Foundation. With a modest mission statement to raise funds to combat the disease, create awareness and establish a variety of treatment programs.
Twin brothers, David and Dana have established themselves as two of the most influential forces in college basketball. Backed by Adidas, the brothers support community based all star youth camps and elite travel squads, nationwide.
The young players benefit from elite collegiate coaching as they develop and showcase their talent.
This years gala was an impressive star studded event. The 2010 Pump Foundation honorees included: Joseph Brandmeyer (Humanitarian Award) Hank Aaron, Denzel Washington and special honoree Muhammad Ali (Lifetime Achievement Awards).
Frank Robinson introduced Hank Aaron and related how he chased Hank his ent ire career.
Robinson said, “I couldn’t quite hit as many homers as he did, but ultimately, we went into the Hall of Fame together!”
As Aaron addressed the gala, he fondly spoke of how genuinely competitive he and Willie Mays were. “I was just as fast as Willie, he only looked faster because he fixed his cap so loose, it would fly off his head as he ran the bases” Snoop Dogg was a crowd favorite as he sauntered across the stage to introduce Denzel Washington. “Denzel invited me onto his movie set and I thought I was the coolest in the room, until I saw him with his crew.” “He’s definitely the coolest”.
Denzel Washington spoke fondly of the Pump brothers and their unique ability to gather people from both sports and entertainment , for a special cause. The Academy Award winner for ‘Training Day’ added, “even though I played basketball at Fordham, I am in awe of the athletes here tonight”
Humanitarian award winner Joseph Brandmeyer is a story of humility and courageous risk. After many years as a pharmaceutical executive, he put all of his life savings into the new company, Medi- Flex. He developed a special skin antiseptic product to reduce thousands of annual unnecessary patient deaths.
Former Olympic gold medalist and champion of five weight divisions, Oscar De La Hoya had a special story about a special man. De La Hoya spoke about one unusual morning at his neighborhood training center, near Whittier and Lorena Streets in East Los Angeles.
Between rounds of sparing, Oscar glanced over to the corner of the gym, “It was him, Muhammad Ali”.
“He spent time talking to the neighborhood kids and even though they couldn’t understand english, he won them over”, said De La Hoya.
Before he left that day, according to De La Hoya, Muhammad pointed at him and said, “Just remember one thing”, “I will always be the prettiest.”
To culminate the evening, “The Champ”, Muhammad Ali was brought to the stage as his wife Yolanda spoke on his behalf. She eloquently spoke about how David and Dana Pump flew to Phoenix to have lunch with her and explain their work for cancer. “They won me over” Yolanda said, as arrangements were made to honor her husband in Century City.
With a line-up worthy of the ESPY’s the Pump brothers have raised over four million dollars toward the universal cancer fight. Due to the passion and generosity of David and Dana Pump, the foundation that bears their father’s name will thrive for all of us.
To donate or to attend next year’s Gala, contact the Harold Pump Foundation at (888) 801-7981.