September 10 will mark the second live Stand Up 2 Cancer fundraising event on television with all of the major networks and many cable ones as well participating. It is set to air at 7:00 pm central time. This event was launched in 2008 and successfully raised $100 million dollars. Laura Ziskin, one of the co-founders, executive producer of the TV show and a cancer survivor herself sums it up better than I can by saying, “Plain and simple, cancer takes too much from us.”
The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) rallied to support this event, along with Major League Baseball. The mission of SU2C is to fund innovative cancer research, kind of a “let’s get on with it” approach. I like that mission. SU2C partners with The American Association of Cancer Research, a group of 32,000 scientists working collaboratively instead of competitively on high-risk, but high- potential research.
Such fundraising events headlined by “superstars” used to seem phony to me and more for the purpose of self-promotion for the participating celebrities than for any serious fundraising. As I was watching a commercial for this event the other night, however, I got to rethinking my position on such events. Am I rethinking this now only because of my own breast cancer? Probably, my diagnosis changed how I think about a lot of things.
I do know this. We all have a voice. Although most of our voices seem small and insignificant, celebrities are truly in a unique position to be heard. I decided what right do I have to question their sincerity and integrity for participating in such events? They, too, are busy people with busy lives and would not have to get involved with charities of any kind. Superstars, just like the rest of us, are affected by cancer. When you see famous individuals like Christina Applegate, Lance Armstrong, Sheryl Crow and countless others coming out and talking about their own cancer journeys, you realize no one is immune. We are all in this fight together.
I just might have to tune in on Friday evening and watch all those famous people asking for donations. When I see stars like Will Smith, Denzel Washington, George Clooney, and Renee Zellweger, maybe I won’t be quite so cynical. When I hear talented musicians like Neil Diamond and Lady Antebellum performing, I might say a silent thank you. When Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams step up on stage, I will think they do really care.
So, remember we all have a voice. We can all be heard. Some of us might be louder, but that is not what is important. Use the voice you have. Stand up and say, “Enough!” Do you plan to watch this event?