Stuart Scott is, indeed, cooler than the other side of the pillow.
Scott, one of ESPN’s most popular anchors, received the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at last night’s Espy Awards, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Jimmy V award is given annually to a public figure who has shown extraordinary strength and resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity. Scott is currently in the midst of a seven-year appendiceal cancer battle.
The award is named for the late Jimmy Valvano, a former college basketball with North Carolina State who died of metastatic adenocarcinoma in 1993. Before his death, Valvano was able to create the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, accepting donations and organizing Jimmy V Day on ESPN, where people bid on specially created sports events that fans can bid on auction-style. All proceeds go to the Jimmy V Foundation.
Scott invoked the award’s namesake during his acceptance speech last night, including the foundation’s motto and rally cry, “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” “To be honored with this,” Scott said, “I know I have a responsibility to never give up. I’m not special; I just listened to what the man said.”
Scott offered plenty of inspiration of his own, crediting those around him and even his bosses for fighting on his behalf. “I just got out of the hospital; I had four surgeries in the span of seven days,” Scott revealed, silencing the Nokia Theatre audience. “I had tubes running through every part of my body! As of Sunday, I didn’t even know if I could make it here. I couldn’t fight. But the doctors and nurses could; the people that I loved and my friends and family, they could. This whole fight, this journey thing, is not a solo venture, this is something that requires support.”
Before beginning his speech, a video documenting Scott’s treatments and road back to work showed the lively anchor in a doctor’s room, drained, struggling to smile for the camera. “I’m not losing. I’m still here fighting,” Scott managed to tell the camera.
“I’ve got to amend that,” Scott said onstage, clutching the award. “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, while you live and the manner in which you live,” which triggered a roaring applause.
Scott’s touching speech concluded when he asked his younger daughter to join him onstage, reports the hollywoodlife.com website. “The best thing I’ve ever done, the best thing I will ever do is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni,” Scott said of his children. “I can’t ever give up because I can’t leave my daughters. I love you girls more than I will ever be able to express. You are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage tonight because of you.”