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Dick Vitale talks about his new book, his voice and a return to broadcasting

Dick Vitale said he hopes to give a speech at the 2024 Dick Vitale Gala on May 3.
Dick Vitale said he hopes to give a speech at the 2024 Dick Vitale Gala on May 3.
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Dick Vitale never gives up, and he wants to inspire others to do the same. 

Vitale, the 84-year-old Hall of Fame men's college basketball broadcaster and Lakewood Ranch resident, has written a new book alongside journalist Scott Gleeson. Titled "Until My Last Breath: Fighting Cancer with My Young Heroes," the 192-page book features the stories of the members of Vitale's "All-Courageous Kids Team," who are honored at the annual Dick Vitale Gala for the fight they have shown after being diagnosed with pediatric cancer.

Vitale also offers insights into his own experience with cancer. Since 2021, Vitale has been diagnosed with melanoma, lymphoma and vocal cord cancer, and he's fought back against all of them. 

Vitale is dealing with lingering effects from his vocal cord cancer treatment. He has been on vocal rest off and on since December 2021, when doctors first found precancerous dysplasia and ulcerated lesions on his vocal cords. He's currently on vocal rest following a January procedure to improve his voice — ideally, to levels that would allow him to call college basketball games for ESPN again. Vitale has missed the entire 2023-2024 season. 

While he can't give oral interviews yet, Vitale answered questions via email about his new book — and the outlook for his return to broadcasting. 

Dick Vitale was all smiles when leaving his final radiation treatment for vocal cord cancer Sept. 1. Vitale has since had additional surgeries in order to get his voice back to broadcast standard. He hopes to return to ESPN for the 2024-2025 college basketball season.
File photo

Vitale said he got the idea for the book when reflecting on his three battles with cancer. He always had an admiration for people who face cancer, he said, but he didn't know how much of a challenge it was on a day-to-day basis.

If Vitale didn't know, he thought, neither do most people who don't go through cancer themselves. He intertwined his own story with the stories of his All-Courageous Kids to provide readers with many different perspectives on cancer and the toll it takes on people and on families. 

"More than ever, their stories are inspiring and motivating," Vitale wrote. "They brought me to tears reading the battles they dealt with daily."

Among the 13 All-Courageous Kids stories included in the book is that of Bartonville, Texas, cancer survivor Sadie Keller, 16, who at 7 years old was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Keller reached the remission stage of recovery after a three-year treatment. Another chapter is dedicated to Clearwater's Cole Eicher, 22, who at 12 years old was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Eicher endured nine months of treatment and was found to have no evidence of the disease, but he will be monitored for the rest of his life. 

In going through cancer treatments, Vitale wrote, you acquire a bond with people who have gone through similar things. Vitale said many of the All-Courageous Kids families sent him prayers and well-wishes during his own treatments. 

Vitale's book can be purchased at, where autographed copies are available for $35. It can also be purchased via Amazon. All proceeds will go to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, whose Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund has awarded more than $84 million in research grants.

Now that Vitale is done with his cancer treatments, he can start thinking about a return to calling college basketball games. Being on vocal rest for the 2023-2024 college basketball season has been difficult, Vitale wrote, especially because he feels the best physically that he has in three years. 

"But I was trapped," Vitale wrote. "My voice was not functioning like I was hoping it would after learning the radiation wiped out the cancer." 

Getting his voice back to broadcast levels would require additional procedures, like the one he underwent in January. After months of uncertainty, silently wondering whether he would be able to perform his broadcast duties again, Vitale received good news. On March 6, he posted a video to his social media accounts featuring Steven Zeitels, the director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation in Boston. Zeitels, who performed the January surgery on Vitale, said in the video that the surgery can now be deemed a success. 

"It’s all healed,” Zeitels said to Vitale in the video. “Your left vocal cord is now tremendous and you should be able to begin announcing again. You can get back to what you love to do."

Vitale had been waiting to hear those words. His return to broadcast will not be immediate — Vitale said he is targeting a return for the start of the 2024-2025 season this fall — but the knowledge that it is even possible has him feeling ecstatic. 

The biggest challenge in the months until his return will not be overusing his voice and causing more issues. Vitale wrote he's going to take it slow at first — hence no oral interviews yet. Vitale wrote he hopes to be able to give a speech at his 2024 Dick Vitale Gala on May 3 at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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