Last Friday (9/7), entertainers came together for the Stand Up To Cancer fundraising event. ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC donated one hour of simultaneous, commercial-free prime time for the special, which was broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Samuel L. Jackson, Tobey Maguire, Jeremy Renner, Seth Rogen, Emma Stone, Justin Timberlake, Sofia Vergara, Robert Pattinson and SU2C co-founder Katie Couric were among those featured on the broadcast. Additionally, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Alicia Keys and Tim McGraw delivered one-of-a-kind musical performances.
Swift performed a new song “Ronan,” written for Ronan Thompson, who was nearly four years old when he passed away during his fight with neuroblastoma. Swift had been following a blog written by Ronan’s mother, Maya Thompson, which detailed the his story. Moved by what she read, Swift wrote the song, crediting Maya as her co-writer on the piece, since her blog influenced the lyrics. According to one of Maya’s blog posts, Swift personally called the mother to tell her that not only had she written the song, but to ask permission to perform it and use Ronan’s photo on the SU2C telecast. Maya agreed. The song is currently available on iTunes, all proceeds from the song are being donated to cancer research.
As of today (9/1), Stand Up To Cancer announced that more than $81 million has been pledged so far in connection with its star-studded fundraising telecast to accelerate ground-breaking research and bring new treatments to patients as quickly as possible, including pediatric cancer patients through the creation of a new pediatric cancer research “Dream Team.”
Celebrities also staffed the SU2C phone bank, which, for the first time on any televised fundraising special, included a fully interactive “media bank” with celebrities talking to viewers via social media and doing live VOKLE video chats. Simon Baker, Jordana Brewster, Diem Brown, Kobe Bryant, Ty Burrell, Dana Delany, Rocco DiSpirito, Gabrielle Douglas, Donald Faison, Missy Franklin, Jennie Garth, Max Greenfield, Chelsea Handler, Marg Helgenberger, Felicity Huffman, Stacy Keibler, Minka Kelly, Joe Manganiello, Jillian Michaels, Masi Oka, Robert Pattinson, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Ana Maria Polo, Ray Romano, Eric Stonestreet, Alison Sweeney, and Ethan Zohn were those personalities who donated their time. Viewers were also able to donate via text-to-give and at standup2cancer.org.
Paltrow, the show’s co-executive producer, lost her father Bruce to cancer 10 years ago and said, “I am deeply moved by and proud of this broadcast. This is very personal for me, as it is for so many of us. Our program honored all those we’ve lost to the disease, emboldened those brave survivors among us to continue fighting, and highlighted SU2C’s remarkable progress in cancer research. The results are tangible, and the potential for breakthroughs in the coming years is very exciting.”