More than USD $109 million has been pledged so far in connection with the star-studded September 5 Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) “roadblock” fundraising telecasts in the U.S. and Canada, it was announced today.
The funds pledged toward the SU2C scientific model will be directed to collaborative research utilizing SU2C’s scientific oversight in both the United States and Canada.
“We are enormously grateful to all of our donors and collaborators – from the individual television viewer to large organizations, both in the U.S. and Canada – whose contributions made the telecast a huge success,” said Lisa Paulsen, chief executive officer of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the 501c3 non-profit organization of which SU2C is a part, and one of the co-founders of SU2C. “All this support, as well as the entertainment community’s – both the stars who volunteered their talents and broadcast and cable networks donating air time – means so much to cancer patients who can benefit from SU2C’s research.”
As in 2012, the broadcast was executive produced by Gwyneth Paltrow and Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions in collaboration with SU2C’s production team.
Executive Producer Gwyneth Paltrow, who lost her father Bruce to cancer 12 years ago, said, “The fight against this insidious disease is very personal for me, as it is for so many of us. One in two men and one in three women in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, but when we all stand together, we can change the odds. When we all stand together, cancer doesn’t stand a chance. That sense of community is what the telecast is all about.”
ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, along with ABC Family, American Forces Network, AXS TV, Bravo, Cooking Channel, DIRECTV, Discovery Fit & Health, E!, Encore, Encore Espanol, EPIX, ESPNEWS, FOX Sports 2, FXM, HBO, HBO Latino, ION Television, LMN, Logo TV, MLB Network, National Geographic Channel, Oxygen, Palladia, Pivot, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, Starz, TNT and VH1 donated one hour of simultaneous commercial-free primetime for the nationally televised fundraising special on Friday, September 5, broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The show also streamed live on both Hulu and Yahoo, and is still available on each.
For the first time, there was a Canada-inclusive co-broadcast of the telecast, which aired simultaneously on all four major English-language Canadian networks: CBC, City, CTV and Global, along with Canadian services AMI, CHCH, CHEK, Fight Network, Gusto TV, Hollywood Suite and TLN.
In addition to Paltrow, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Camila Alves, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Bacon, Justin Bartha, Halle Berry, Jordana Brewster, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Carell, Dane Cook, Bradley Cooper, Katie Couric, Brittany Daniel, Amanda de Cadenet, Giada De Laurentiis, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Downey Jr, Ben Falcone, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Will Ferrell, Josh Gad, Tony Goldwyn, Topher Grace, Dave Grohl, Kathryn Hahn, Tony Hale, Jon Hamm, Angie Harmon, Mark Harmon, Neil Patrick Harris, Marg Helgenberger, Anna Kendrick, Rob Lowe, Joe Manganiello, Danny McBride, Melissa McCarthy, Matthew McConaughey, Maria Menounos, Mike Myers, Olivia Munn, Matt Passmore, Italia Ricci, Rob Riggle, Mira Sorvino, Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Stiller, Emma Stone, Eric Stonestreet, Alison Sweeney, Justin Theroux, Bree Turner, Sofia Vergara, Charlie Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, and Ethan Zohn participated in the telecast, as did MLB players Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Derek Jeter, Adam Jones, Jon Lester, Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout; The Who; the Dave Matthews Band; Ariana Grande; and Lupe Fiasco with Jennifer Hudson and Common delivered one-of-a-kind musical performances.
Yahoo News Global Anchor Katie Couric, who is a Stand Up To Cancer co-founder, hosted an On-Stage Digital Lounge, where participating actors and personalities stood the notion of the traditional ‘phone bank’ on its head via “We’re Calling You,” reaching out to supporters via social media and by making phone calls.
The show helps fund SU2C’s groundbreaking approach to translational research, accelerating the delivery of new therapies to patients by getting them from the “bench to the bedside” as quickly as possible. SU2C brings together scientists from different disciplines across various institutions to work collaboratively, rather than competitively. In the U.S., 100 percent of the donations received from the general public go directly to collaborative cancer research programs. All funds received from the Canadian general public during the broadcast will be directed towards the creation of collaborative research teams, as well as education and awareness programs conducted in Canada.
“It’s a privilege to work with so many great names from the entertainment community to rally the public around this cause,” said Gallen, who directed the show in addition to serving as executive producer. “But our goal was to remind everyone who the real stars of this movement are: the brilliant scientists finding new ways to combat this disease, and the brave patients contending with it every day.”
Pierce Brosnan, who lost both his first wife and his daughter to ovarian cancer, announced during the show that SU2C will work with ovarian cancer organizations to launch a “Dream Team” dedicated to developing new therapeutic interventions for what he called “this wretched disease,” which is expected to take the lives of over 14,000 women in the United States this year.
Partnering with SU2C are the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF), Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA), and National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC).
“Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of death from cancer among women,” said Sherry Lansing, a member of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation. “More research is urgently needed to find new ways to detect and treat it, and we are proud to collaborate with OCRF, OCNA and NOCC to address that need.”
Later this month, SU2C will issue a “call for ideas” for the SU2C-OCRF-OCNA-NOCC Ovarian Cancer Translational Research Dream Team grant, which will offer up to $6 million in research funding over a three-year period.
Also, SU2C will work with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to launch a new research initiative on lung cancer. The call for ideas to the scientific community for the lung cancer Dream Team will be issued later this month.
The broadcast included inspiring stories of people living with cancer who have directly benefited from the type of groundbreaking, translational research that is encouraged and supported by SU2C.
When she was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer, gallery owner Beverly Reynolds discovered her cancer was resistant to the standard chemotherapy treatment. Reynolds subsequently enrolled in a clinical trial conducted by members of the SU2C PI3K Dream Team. After just eight weeks on the clinical trial, Reynolds showed a dramatic response to the treatment.
“Her participation on this trial has allowed us to reverse the growth of the cancer, so now it’s shrinking. And that’s translated into her feeling better and being able to do things she would not have been able to do had she not been on this trial,” said Dr. Ursula Matulonis, M.D., Medical Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and one of the doctors on the PI3K Dream Team.
Nine year-old Emily Whitehead was the first pediatric patient ever to receive an experimental immunotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), after she relapsed a second time following standard chemotherapy. The new treatment involved extracting T-cells from Emily’s blood, reengineering them specifically to attack her cancer, and reinfusing them into her body. In just a few weeks, Emily showed a complete response to the therapy, and remains cancer-free today.
Ninety percent of the childhood cancer patients who have received the same immunotherapy as Emily showed a complete response like her. One of the goals of the SU2C-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Dream Team is to understand why the other ten percent of patients do not respond to the therapy, and if anything can be done to make it effective for them.
Don Konantz of Vancouver, British Columbia, has been living with prostate cancer since 2013. His optimism about the rapid development of new treatment options for his disease motivated him to enter triathlon events, including an upcoming ‘Ironman’ triathlon. Despite feeling he “had no business” taking on such grueling physical challenges, “I started,” he said. “And it felt great.”
“It’s so moving to see the stories of people who are living full, healthy lives after a cancer diagnosis, often because of new advances in treatment,” said SU2C Co-founder Katie Couric. “We’re so grateful to each and every person who’s helping us accelerate the pace of research advances and support the scientists dedicated to making these kinds of stories the rule, rather than the exception.”
“We were thrilled with the way our celebrity ambassadors were able to connect with supporters through the on-stage digital lounge and We’re Calling You campaign,” said SU2C CFA member Pam Williams, “and it continues to keep people engaged. In just a 24-hour period, the fun thank you video Katie Couric and Rob Riggle sent to a supporter via the Facebook Mentions Cube during the show was viewed more than 130,000 times!”
Both #SU2C and #StandUpToCancer trended on Twitter throughout the U.S. and Canada during the broadcast.
“The response from the public and their continued generosity has been extraordinary,” said SU2C CFA member Sue Schwartz. “With donations of every level still coming in, Americans and Canadians from every walk of life are ensuring that Dream Teams will be able to continue moving the most promising science from the ‘bench to the bedside’ as quickly as possible.”
“One of our core mantras is that each and every one of us can make a difference in the effort to stop cancer, from individuals to foundations, philanthropists, and corporations,” said SU2C CFA member Rusty Robertson. “In addition to all the individuals who donated, we are profoundly grateful to all of the major donors who are committed to benefiting patients by supporting SU2C’s research.”
“Our program honored all those we’ve lost to cancer, emboldened those brave survivors among us to continue fighting, and showcased SU2C’s remarkable progress through the prism of patients who have benefitted from research. The results are tangible, and the potential for breakthroughs in the coming years is very exciting,” said SU2C CFA member Ellen Ziffren.
Every day, cancer kills 1,600 Americans – one person every minute. In 2014, more than 585,000 Americans and almost 8 million people worldwide will die of some form of cancer. SU2C was founded on the belief that we are at a pivotal juncture with the potential for transformative progress in cancer research because of two trends: breakthroughs made in our understanding of the basic science of cancer, and technological advances that enable us to translate them into new treatments. Today’s cancer researchers need additional funding to fulfill the promise of life-saving discoveries, and Stand Up To Cancer engages the public to support their work.