ESPN’s Dick Vitale begins chemotherapy at Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s new Oncology Tower

Sarasota County

FILE – In this April 4, 2016, file photo, sportscaster Dick Vitale poses with Villanova fans before the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game between Villanova and North Carolina in Houston. Vitale didn’t know if he would reach this year’s $5 million goal of raising money for pediatric cancer research due to the coronavirus pandemic. It turns out he has met his goal and then some. Vitale’s annual gala has already reached $7 million going into Friday’s event, which will be virtual this year. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — ESPN analyst Dick Vitale announced that he officially began his six-month chemotherapy treatment Tuesday as one of the first patients of Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s new Oncology Tower.

Back in October, the 82-year-old sportscaster said that he received a second cancer diagnosis this year after being diagnosed with lymphoma. Before this diagnosis, Vitale previously had several surgeries in August to remove melanoma and was declared cancer-free.

Vitale thanked his fans Tuesday morning for their support in a video message on Twitter.

“The messages you send, the prayers that you send to me, they just overwhelm me,” he said. “They bring me to tears.”

Vitale said he will be spending all day getting chemotherapy at the hospital. He also spoke highly of the staff in tweets he made from the hospital’s oncology center.

Vitale also said his journey with cancer has given him a better understanding of the struggles of those with cancer, especially children he met through the Dick Vitale Gala — an event meant to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.

“So reach out to any family member you have or any friend you have that’s battling cancer cause it’s not just the chemo and the radiation, it’s all the scans and the bloodwork and the journey to get this to be cured,” he said.

Vitale’s treatment comes the same week of the opening of the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute Oncology Tower at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

According to the hospital, the new eight-story tower contains 56 private suites for hospitalized cancer patients, nine state-of the-art operating rooms, and other services unique to patients and their diagnosis.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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