CHAPEL HILL – With March Madness coming up, The Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research has a string of special events and promotions planned for March and April.

The event that has a lot of people talking is the April 13 Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon and ½ Marathon, where a different local band will be playing at each mile of the 26.2-mile course.

“The event is sold out,” says Susan Braun, CEO of the Jimmy V Foundation. “It’s its first year in Raleigh. Everybody’s so excited about it. But we can still get people in by joining our Team V.”

People can join the team at or

In addition, a lot of restaurant chains are stepping up during March Madness to raise money for fighting cancer.

“One of them, Jersey Mike’s, has a month of giving,” Braun says. “So, 25 of their restaurants, their sub restaurants in the Raleigh-Durham area, they’re participating for the month of March. We get a portion of their proceeds, and customers can make a donation at the restaurants.

“And then, they have a day of giving on March 26, where 100 percent of the sales got to The V Foundation.”

For the eighth year, Applebee’s is having its March Hoops promotion, which gets customers involved with $1 donations. Braun says that last year, Applebee’s raised more than $170,000 for the Jimmy V Foundation.

Beer distributor Crown Imports is donating a portion of proceeds, and Jimmy V’s Osteria & Bar in downtown Raleigh gives a portion of proceeds to the foundation year-round.

The Jimmy V Foundation, founded by the late NC State Basketball Coach Jim Valvano in partnership with ESPN, is dedicated to raising funds for the best and most cutting-edge cancer research.

Valvano died of bone cancer at Duke University Medical Center in 1993, less than two months after he gave a stirring speech at the ESPY Awards.

That’s where he announced the foundation, and its famous motto: “Don’t Give Up … Don’t Ever Give Up.”

In 2014, the sports community still takes Valvano’s words to heart.

“Basketball coaches and players around the country continue to be so generous to us,” says Braun. “And having ESPN as your best friend – I mean, what could really be better?”

The foundation’s current fundraising goal is $15-$16 million annually. Braun says that, in 20 years, The Jimmy V Foundation has put $115 million into cancer research.