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A multitude of stars came out on Friday night as part of the Stand Up To Cancer television extravaganza to raise money for cancer research.

The hour-long program – simulcast live on NBC, ABC, and CBS – featured celebrities such as Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry, Forest Whitaker and Casey Affleck reading accounts of people battling cancer, as well as musical items, comedy sketches, and the opportunity for people to ring up and pledge donations – with stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, America Ferrera and Kirsten Dunst answering the phones.

“This is an absolutely historic night, thanks to the unbelievable generosity of the three networks,” event organiser, producer and cancer survivor Laura Ziskin told the audience at Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre.

The biggest surprise of the night was the appearance of Patrick Swayze, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year.

“He looks amazing,” former basketball player Charles Barkley told People Magazine. “For me, seeing Patrick Swayze, someone who is actually fighting this disease, was the best part of the show. Seeing him in person was amazing.”

The idea behind the event was that it is the lack of funding – and not just research – that is slowing the advance of cancer prevention and treatment, and over $100 million has been raised since the Stand Up To Cancer initiative was launched earlier this year.

The telethon – which was viewed by over 10.5 million people – also featured performances by Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, and James Taylor, as well as the television premiere of the star-studded charitable single Just Stand Up performed by Mariah Carey, Beyoncé Knowles, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Fergie, Sheryl Crow, Miley Cyrus, Melissa Etheridge, Ashanti, Natasha Bedingfield, Keyshia Cole, Ciara, Leona Lewis, LeAnn Rimes, and Carrie Underwood. Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett underwent a prostate examination on the show, and cartoon character Homer Simpson had a colonoscopy.

Other stars who were part of the show included Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Meryl Streep, David Cook, Christina Applegate, Lance Armstrong, Jack Black, Hilary Swank, Jimmy Fallon, and Keanu Reeves, all of whom wanted to do something positive to help the 550,000 Americans and six million people worldwide who die from cancer each year.

As part of Stand Up To Cancer’s efforts, there is also an auction running on eBay that offers the chance to meet the cast of celebrities such as Katie Couric, Stephen Colbert, and Jay Leno. It runs until September 15, and can be accessed through eBay.

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