On Friday, September 5, three major networks and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars united to raise money for cancer research. The Stand Up To Cancer telethon aired simultaneously on ABC, CBS, and NBC. The broadcast also went out to an estimated 170 countries and territories world wide.
Telethon organizers announced Stand Up To Cancer has raised over 100 million dollars since the campaign began on May 28, 2008. The telethon, which aired commercial-free in primetime, featured celebrities, sports figures, and politicians. Celebrities in attendance included Christina Applegate, Patrick Swayze, Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, James Taylor, Lance Armstrong, Jimmy Fallon, Forest Whitaker, Kirsten Dunst, and Abigail Breslin. Many, if not all, of the people involved have either battled cancer themselves or had a close family member or friend with the disease.
The purpose of Stand Up To Cancer is to raise money to create cancer research “dream teams” of cancer specialists who will focus on cancer research as a whole, rather than by individual conditions. According to the Stand Up To Cancer website, scientists have an understanding of the biology of cancer. It is more a lack of funding, rather than a lack of knowledge, that is preventing breakthroughs in research. The Stand Up To Cancer website mission statement says, “For the first time we can envision the possibility of stopping cancer in its tracks. But just when science is on the verge of giving us the breakthroughs that can end cancer, the will and the funding to do so are disappearing from the national agenda and from our collective consciousness.” Stand Up To Cancer aims to rapidly move cancer research forward by means of philanthropic donations and heightened public awareness.
In addition to the individual donations via phone, Internet, and mail, Stand Up To Cancer also had a “Team Challenge.” Teams were formed by various groups and organizations and each set a goal to raise a certain amount of money. Three teams exceeded their goals of raising $25,000. The Mickey Powell P.C. Foundation raised over $36,000, Crush Kids’ Cancer, started by David Archuleta’s Angels, raised $31,000, and VIGA’s Team raised nearly $29,000.
One hundred percent of donations to Stand Up To Cancer go to cancer research. There are also several auctions for “celebrity experiences” with proceeds going to the charity. Experiences include a red carpet meet and greet with the cast of Iron Man 2, and a meet and greet with Jay Leno. “Just Stand Up" — featuring Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Mary J. Bilge, Rihanna, Fergie, Sheryl Crow, Miley Cyrus, Melissa Etheridge, Ashanti, Natasha Bedingfield, Keyshia Col, Ciara, Leona Lewis, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood — is also available through iTunes.