A decade ago, Katie Couric first helped inspire celebrities to “Stand Up to Cancer.”
Since then, the fundraising event that shares its name with a year-round campaign has aired every other year across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. It does so again as 60-plus outlets – including ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox – simultaneously present the special Friday, with actor Bradley Cooper as an executive producer again, as numerous personalities highlight advances made in cancer research through donations pledged by individuals and organizations ... amounting to more than $480 million over the past 10 years.
“I think milestones are really important and valuable when measuring success and taking stock,” Stand Up to Cancer co-founder Couric said. “This is an opportunity to celebrate our success and commit to the future as well. I could not be more proud of what has been accomplished by a whole host of people. It takes a village to come up with better cancer treatment, and I think we've galvanized not just a village, but an entire international community.”
Stars slated to participate in this year's “Stand Up to Cancer” special include Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Keith Urban, Kathy Bates and Marlee Matlin. The initiative also involves “Dream Teams” of experts in medicine and science; the pancreatic cancer team is a joint venture with the UK-Lustgarten Foundation, and the cancer immunology team also encompasses the Cancer Research Institute.
As she reflects on Stand Up to Cancer's history, Couric notes how gratified she is “to see how many drugs have been approved by the FDA, to see how many people have gone to get screenings, to see how technology has turbocharged research. This is an opportunity to really revel in what we've been able to do.”
Couric cites former Vice President Joseph Biden and philanthropist Sean Parker among others who are “really focusing on cancer. There is so much happening in the world of cancer research, with technology and data and basic science. We call it 'convergence,' where all these different disciplines can really get together and help unravel the mystery of this disease.
“Ever since Jay was diagnosed,” Couric says in reference to her late husband, Jay Monahan, “I've seen so many changes. It's not so tumor-specific. We're looking at treatments that may help cure melanoma or may help cure another kind of cancer. There's a lot of intersectionality, as they say, and we're really starting to understand the mechanics of this hideous disease that can outwit its most powerful foes – and to figure out how all these different approaches can stop it in its tracks. If this is the first line in my obituary, I'll be very, very proud.”