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25 Years of Funding Excellence: Brent Colborne, ESPN

I remember staring at the ceiling in shock and disbelief, trying to make sense of the news my mother just told me about her diagnosis of kidney cancer. I was in my college dorm room with my girlfriend (now wife) trying to console me, and trying to make sense of what was happening, and what was about to happen. That was a brutal day for all of us, but we’re the fortunate ones. I’m fortunate enough to be able to call my mom and have her babysit for my kids today. Others aren’t so fortunate, but I know the more we invest our time and resources into cancer research, the more stories of survivorship we’ll be able to share.

This is my 13th year working at ESPN in the Programming Department. I started off as an intern the spring semester of my senior year at UConn, making a quick attempt to learn the business and work for the Worldwide Leader full time. I still feel a massive sense of pride whenever I tell someone I work at ESPN, and an even greater sense of pride when I tell my friends and colleagues that I am the Chair of our interdepartmental “V Week” Committee, a multi-faceted campaign focused on raising awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Only a few years after I joined ESPN, my manager and 3-time cancer survivor, Ilan Ben-Hanan, saw an opportunity to create this committee. I was blown away at the passion and the “all hands on deck” mentality that our employees exhibited, and I knew I had to be involved.

Fast forward to today, and I am privileged enough to lead a committee of over 50 employees who put their heart and soul into V Week. We finished up our 11th year in December, raising over $4.5M for the V Foundation (a 17% increase from 2016 and the most ever for V Week), bringing the 11-year total to $22.2M!!!! Our committee has been so thoughtful on creating new and innovative ways to leverage ESPN’s extensive reach, while showing why it’s important to donate funds to support cancer research.  There is never a lack of motivation for each of the committee members – in committee meetings, we often talk about how cancer has affected our own lives. Each and every one of us has, in some way, been affected by cancer.

I was blown away at the passion and the “all hands on deck” mentality that our employees exhibited, and I knew I had to be involved.

As Coach Valvano stated, “We need money for research. It may not save my life. It may save someone you love.” It saved my mom. And hopefully someday it can save the millions of people that will be diagnosed with cancer throughout our lifetime. Until then, I WON’T EVER GIVE UP.