Justin Allen To Be Named 2003 V Foundation Comeback Award Recipient
April 4, 2003
Cary, NC -- Arizona State junior forward and cancer survivor Justin Allen has been named the recipient of the 2003 V Foundation Comeback of the Year Award presented by The V Foundation for Cancer Research and ESPN. The award is given annually to a collegiate basketball student-athlete who embodies the spirit and courage represented by the late Jim Valvano and expressed in his memorable and motivating challenge delivered in his acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards - 'Don't Give Up. . .Don't Ever Give Up!'ï¿½
The 2003 award will be announced on ESPN's Final Four Friday special, airing live from the Superdome in New Orleans. V Foundation CEO Nick Valvano will present the award to Allen at the Arizona State basketball banquet on Tuesday night (April 8) in Scottsdale. Allen was selected from over 30 nominees nationwide.
Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in September 2000 following his freshman year at Arizona State. He returned to the court at ASU in 2001-02 while still recovering from the effects of the disease, following chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
'The determination and dedication Justin displayed in his battle with cancer makes him a deserving recipient of the 2003 Comeback Award,' said Nick Valvano. 'His achievements are inspiring. The V Foundation is proud to honor him with this award.'
His attitude regarding his recovery has been an inspiration to everyone at Arizona State.
'Justin Allen is the perfect example of someone not giving up and is someone who will make The V Foundation and the Valvano family proud,' said ASU Head Coach Rob Evans. 'He has been a champion in his commitment to fighting the disease and has been a leader in our program. Most importantly, Justin is someone we can all learn from on how to deal with adversity. Coach Valvano would want this award to go to someone like Justin. He never gave up.'
Allen's comeback to the court was only one part of his amazing journey in his battle against cancer. He will graduate this spring with a degree in Justice Studies. Prior to being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease, he posted a 3.23 GPA. Throughout the diagnosis, surgery, treatments, and watching his teammates play ball while he sat on the sidelines, he did not lose any momentum in the classroom. He met with his instructors to discuss his health and the effects of treatment, to facilitate possibilities for him to continue his academics. The Arizona State instructors worked with him and his doctors' requests. He maintained academic excellence while battling his disease and will graduate with an overall 3.46.
'I am honored to receive this award and to be associated with The V Foundation and the Valvano Family,' Allen said when informed that he would be named the 2003 Comeback Award recipient. 'I was born in 1981, just two years before Coach Valvano's team won the national title, but I am an example of how his inspiration and name can help make a difference in the fight against cancer.
'Coach Valvano's words of never giving up were spoken by my family many times. I remembered those words both on the court and in the classroom, in the hospital and walking around campus,' Allen concluded.
Justin Thomas Allen is the son of Tom and Faye Allen of Malta, Ill. He is the youngest of five children. He played high school ball at Malta High for Coach Shawn Byers. He plans to return to the Arizona State squad for his senior year of athletic eligibility while pursuing an advanced degree. At Arizona State he played in 19 games this season. Allen was part of a six-person freshman recruiting class in 1999 that this year led ASU to its first NCAA appearance since 1995. The Sun Devils finished 20-12 and were fourth in the Pac-10 Conference.
The V Foundation Comeback Award is presented annually and is open to men and women collegiate basketball student-athletes in all NCAA division levels. The candidate's challenge may not be as obvious as a come-from-behind win. The challenge may reflect more on being triumphant in the face of true adversity - in health, in life, or moral dilemma. Past recipients are (2001) Purdue's Katie Douglas (now with the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA) and (2002) Western Michigan junior Kristin Koetsier.
Along with Allen, the 2003 V Foundation Comeback of the Year Award finalists were: Bryan Anderson, Malloy College; Kassidi Bishop, University of Louisville; Sherri Brown, St. John's University; Tiffanie Hager, Kent State University; Mike King, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; Linda Lappe, University of Colorado; Tomas Ress, Texas A&M University; Beth Roederer, Miami University (OH); and Derrick Tarver, The University of Akron.
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano. The Foundation has raised over $27 million and awarded 170 grants nationwide. The Foundation operates efficiently, with 85% of every dollar raised directly available for research. To learn more about The V Foundation, visit the website at www.jimmyv.org.
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