In 1993, beloved coach Jim Valvano gave a speech at the first ESPYs that inspired a generation.

ESPN's annual award show, the ESPYs, honors remarkable achievements in athletics.

NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and Taye Diggs present Kevin Durant with the award for Best Male Athlete. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.


But this star-studded program is much more than fun and games. At the 2015 ESPYs, Caitlyn Jenner will be recognized for her bravery in sharing her personal journey and for the work she's done to highlight the daily struggles of the trans community in a story that transcends sports.

At the very first ESPYs in 1993, basketball coach Jimmy Valvano received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Valvano (widely known as "Jimmy V") was a beloved college basketball coach at NC State in the 1980s and became a color commentator for ESPN in 1990.

Coach Valvano celebrates after his team wins the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship in 1983. Photo by Getty Images.

But in the summer of 1992, Valvano was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

With months to live, Jimmy V took to the stage at the ESPYs to accept the award and gave the speech of his life.

His wise words on hope, persistence, and the the beauty of life inspired not just the sports community, but fans and supporters across the country.


GIFs via the Jimmy V Foundation.

Though he passed away a few months later, Jimmy V's message of hope and persistence lives on.

During the ESPYs, with financial support from ESPN, Jimmy V announced the formation of the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Its motto? Wise words from the man himself.

Since its launch in 1993, the Jimmy V Foundation has awarded over $130 million to more than 100 facilities across the country.

At the 2007 ESPYs, ESPN presented the first Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.

The honor recognizes individuals who display extraordinary determination in the face of adversity. Past winners include Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed after an on-field incident, and ESPN commentator Stuart Scott, who passed away in January 2015 after battling cancer.

This year, the honor goes to Leah Still, cancer survivor and five-year-old daughter of Cincinnati Bengals tackle Devon Still.


Even in the extravagant world of professional sports, Jimmy V made a difference by being compassionate, honest, and vulnerable.

Through the ESPYs and the work of his foundation, he continues to inspire generations of athletes and fans to stay positive, humble, and grateful.

Need a bit of motivation? Watch Jimmy V's moving acceptance speech below.


True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.