We are excited to announce the 2019 Rally Against Cancer featured speaker is Vince Papale, former NFL player and colon cancer survivor.
Our speaker, Vince Papale, is a former member of the Philadelphia Eagles and was portrayed by Mark Wahlberg in the 2006 Disney movie, Invincible. Vince has an amazing "underdog" story to share. Never playing college football and at the age of 30 working as a high school teacher/coach and part-time bartender, this die hard Eagles fan acted on a whim and a dare and accepted an invitation to participate in a citywide tryout announced by Eagles new head coach, Dick Vermeil.
Inspired by this quote from his high school coach mentor, "Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make those dreams come true", he figured he had nothing to lose.
Given no chance to make it past tryouts, Vince's incredible effort and determination not only earned him a spot at the Eagle's training camp, but ultimately a position on the team roster from 1976-78 as a special teams player and wide receiver. Outside of kickers, Papale holds the record for the oldest rookie in the National Football League to not play college football.
As compelling and motivating as his football journey, Vince employed the same fight and tenacity when later diagnosed with colon cancer. Just as he became a Philadelphia Eagle, Vince was similarly successful in becoming a cancer survivor.
2018: Scott Hamilton, Olympic Gold Medal Skater, Broadcaster, and Cancer Survivor
2017: Shannon Miller, Olympian, Entrepreneur and Cancer Survivor
2016: Jim Kelly, Retired Buffalo Bills quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer
2015: Mark Herzlich, New York Giants Linebacker and Cancer Survivor
2014: Mike Haynes, Former Los Angeles Raiders Defensive Back, Cancer Survivor, and NFL Hall of Fame
2013: Chris Draft, Former NFL Linebacker and Cancer Advocate
2012: Merril Hoge, Former Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back, ESPN Analyst and Cancer Survivor
2011: Chris Spielman, Former Detroit Lions Linebacker and Cancer Advocate
2010: Mike Ditka, Former Chicago Bears Tight End, Chicago Bears Coach and NFL Hall of Fame
2009: Marv Levy, Former Buffalo Bills Coach, NFL Hall of Fame and Cancer Survivor
2008: Gale Sayers, Former Chicago Bears Running Back and NFL Hall of Fame
2007: Craig Morton, Former Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos Quarterback, and Cancer Survivor
2006: Len Dawson, Former Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback, Super Bowl IV MVP, and NFL Hall of Fame
2005: Art Still, Former Kansas City Chiefs & Buffalo Bills Defensive End, and NFL Pro Bowler
2004: Marv Cook, Former University of Iowa All-American, New England Patriots tight end, and NFL All-Pro
2003: Kirk Ferentz, University of Iowa Football Coach
2002: John Keck, Former NFL Referee