RALEIGH — The Triangle is an area with lots of sports to choose from, but this weekend the V Foundation kicks off the annual Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic. Friday night, a star-studded Jimmy V Jam started off the big charity weekend.
The Classic is named for former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993.
Hootie and the Blowfish are mainstays of the Classic. They helped draw crowds to the first event in 1994, and continue to bring back a faithful following.
Earlier in the evening, sponsors and celebrities gathered for the tournament pairings party. The celebrity list is stacked with sports personalities, athletes, and broadcaster, television stars, and one well-known "survivor" whose show was short-lived, but who was nonetheless well paid -- Tina Wesson, of "Survivor."
"I'm a recreation major, so I said one of the things I'd like to do is just go around and play softball and golf or tennis or whatever at these celebrity events, and I'm doing a lot of these actually," said Wesson.
Wesson was a Valvano fan long before she became a celebrity survivor. She remembers watching his public struggle with cancer.
"I was sitting there on my couch, moved to tears, crying, tears streaming down my face, and I got down on my knees and begged God to save this man's life," Wesson said.
Last year, the Classic raised $1.85 million for cancer research. In seven years, the foundation has raised almost $7 million.
"It makes me cry all weekend long to know what everbody comes here for, and comes together for the cause," said Pam Valvano, Jim Valvano's widow.
Over 30,000 people are expected to watch the Celebrity tournament, which begins at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Cary's Prestonwood Country Club. Parking is available at Carter-Finley Stadium, and shuttle buses will run continuously throughout the day. Parking is not available at Prestonwood Country Club.