Basketball great says victory in life is fueled by hope, and Providence Cancer Center plays to win

April 30, 2012
PORTLAND, Ore. - Every Portland Trail Blazer fan remembers the energy that surged across Oregon in late spring 1977. Even those who didn't follow basketball were caught up in the wave of excitement led by the towering, red-headed Bill Walton and the mighty enforcer Maurice Lucas. Together, they helped lead the Portland Trail Blazers to an NBA title.

They gave fans hope.

Decades later, Walton understands hope on a completely different level. His close friend Lucas died after a long, courageous battle with bladder cancer. The 58-year-old played the last of his life game coaching others about hope. "Maurice always breathed life into everything and everybody," said Walton. "He was light."

Walton, who named a son after Lucas, will share his memories of his teammate and Lucas' journey with an incurable cancer, at Providence Cancer Center's 14th annual Positive Perspectives: Creating Hope for Cancer Patients Luncheon on May 2.

Walton understands how games are won when a team plays well together, focusing on a single goal. He sees that teamwork and dedication at Providence Cancer Center where scientists from across the globe gather together to unlock the mysteries of cancer - and create hope.

Walton will be joined on the stage by cancer survivors, as well as his friend and former voice of the Portland Trail Blazers, Bill Schonely. In addition, Walter J. Urba, M.D., Ph.D., director, Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center in the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Cancer Center, will share the hope Providence's team of physicians, scientists, nurses and other health care professionals brings to every patient, every day. "As with any championship team, we have to believe we can win this fight," said Dr. Urba. "We do believe. We know we will help find the answer in our research labs, working together."

The 2012 luncheon is generously underwritten by the Yoshida Family. All proceeds from the luncheon will directly benefit research at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center, part of the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute within Providence Cancer Center. The Chiles Research Institute is a world-class research center and one of only a few in the Pacific Northwest focusing exclusively on immunotherapy.

To learn more about the luncheon, call 503-216-6625.