The hour-long Stand Up 2 Cancer (SU2C) telethon for cancer research, which blanketed all of the major broadcast and cable television outlets last week, brought in pledges of an estimated $81 million.
The star-studded event was co-executive produced by actress Gwyneth Paltrow and went live from the Shriner’s Auditorium in Los Angeles. It was a melancholy broadcast in some respects in that it was also a memorial to the life of Laura Ziskin, movie producer and one of the organization’s founders, who lost her battle with cancer last year.
The telethon opened with taped messages from actors Matt Damon and Michael Douglas but for the most part was live. Musical guests Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw performed live and a pre-recorded performance by the band Coldplay aired.
Taylor’s moving new song, ‘Ronan,’ was co-written with the mother of a 4-year-old boy named Ronan who died last year. All proceeds from the song will go to cancer research.
Douglas and actress Sofia Vergara told of their personal fights against the disease and celebrities answered some of the calls from donors. Douglas said cancer “picked a fight with the wrong guy.”
SU2C donations go to accelerating ground-breaking research and bringing new treatments to patients as quickly through cancer research “Dream Teams.” The idea is 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. Because of underwriting by corporate sponsors, 100 percent of the public’s donations go directly to cancer research.
The event is by the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), which also partners with the American Association of Cancer Researchers.
“We are profoundly grateful to the entire entertainment community, particularly the stars who volunteered their time and talent, as well as the networks and cable channels that donated the air time, to make our show a tremendous success,” said Lisa Paulsen, an SU2C co-founder and president and CEO of the EIF. “Their support means so much to the millions of cancer patients and survivors who know they are not alone in this fight.”