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A Tribute to Mike Pratt

Treasured friend and founding member

Mike Pratt evolved into one of my most treasured friends. He was such an interesting and bright man. He could talk basketball of course, but he loved football, baseball, any sport really, plus politics and current events. He was like a talk show host's dream guest, and it was a delight to co-host a radio show with him each week.

He became a passionate and dedicated fund raiser for Kentuckiana Friends of V and our fight against cancer. He was a friend raiser as well as a fund raiser, and it seemed the whole world either was or wanted to be his friend.

I had to say goodbye to him in the hospital just two days before he passed and he said he considers himself part of the Valvano family. I responded truthfully that we felt the same way and he'd always be among us. He said he just wanted to help with KFOV and I reminded him he'd been a great help and I was certain he would continue to be.

Do you realize how powerful it is when another man, a great man, tells you he's part of your family? Quotes your brother and says he'll 'never give up?' Loves your sons, who think the absolute world of him...and tells you he loves you too?

That may happen every day for you, but for me that was an extraordinary visit. It was the last time I saw him, and it is the most bittersweet experience you can imagine. 

All the things that made Mike Pratt so exceptional, so caring, so loved, were on display in abundance, coupled with the thought they were all being taken from me...from all of us.

So, we're faced with a world not as nice, not as fun, not as funny as it was just a short time ago.

And it makes us redouble our efforts to fight this hideous disease. We will work each day to make a difference, because Mike believed we could make a difference.  And the huge vacuum that was created by his passing must serve as a catalyst for more work, more research, more breakthroughs, more answers.

Bob Valvano
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