Friday’s one-hour multi-station primetime commercial-free telecast of the third iteration of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) captured the latest stage of the cancer research funding initiative’s continued evolution.
Round One, in September 2008, presented the promise to raise funds for innovative cancer research by so-called Dream Teams selected by an august committee of eminent cancer researchers led by Nobel Laureate Phil Sharp and held accountable by a group of no-nonsense Hollywood women who required results for patients within a three-year grant period.
Round Two, in September 2010, presented the Dream Teams, meticulously and scrupulously assembled with the vision of its scientific advisors to ensure the most appropriate critical masses to achieve results regardless of individual egos.
And Round Three, this Sept. 7, presented some actual results with vignettes of translational research scientific enterprise and examples of patients benefitting from the work of the past few years, interspersed with brief inspirational comments and heartfelt musical renditions by some of the biggest stars of the entertainment industry.
The “roadblock” presentation had a different feel from past programs, brought about mostly by executive producers Joel Gallen and Gwyneth Paltrow, who took up the baton held in the past by the late Laura Ziskin, the acclaimed producer who helped co-found Stand Up To Cancer in early 2008 and died of metastatic breast cancer last year. But some insiders said they felt the change was not solely the province of different production viewpoints and techniques but rather from the physical absence of Laura Ziskin, whose spirit still seemed very much alive. The show also included a filmed tribute to her
Following the broadcast, I spoke briefly with some of the other co-founders who also serve as members of the SU2C Executive Leadership Council including Sherry Lansing, Rusty Robertson, Lisa Paulsen, and Kathleen Lobb, as well as Stand Up’s president and CEO, Sung Poblete, PhD, RN.
And I also met with a number of Dream Teamers, recipients of innovative investigator awards, and cancer survivors heading advocacy organizations involved in SU2C outreach.
The consensus among them -- and everyone else I spoke with who viewed the program by television at home -- as well as those following along the #istandupfor Twitter feed -- was that the show was a great success.
And please stay tuned (on this blog as well as in OT’s print and iPad issues) as I continue reporting on the success of the fundraising effort that will fuel the scientific enterprise that will help continue to deliver the promise of discovery rendered as enhanced and more effective cancer treatment and prevention.
Stand Up To Cancer reported this morning that more than $81 million has been pledged so far as a result of Friday night’s telecast.
The 2010 show had announced that $80 million had been raised following that telecast, and the original program that aired in 2008 raised approximately $100 million.
However, as I reported two years ago, SU2C’s “Qualitative Success Transcends Quantitative Numbers,” and I’ll be following up in future articles and posts about how this year’s yield can translate into scientific endeavors benefitting patients, including children who will see the creation of a new pediatric cancer Dream Team.
Donations are still being accepted at www.su2C.org and 1-888-90-STAND (78263), and the telecast can be seen at www.hulu.com/stand-up-to-cancer.