Stand Up To Cancer, backed from the outset in 2008 by founding donor Major League Baseball and supported year-round by MLB and its 30 clubs, will stage its fourth biennial fundraising telethon live from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles from 8-9 p.m. ET on Friday.
Commissioner Bud Selig and all of MLB will be recognized during the star-studded event, which will be streamed live on MLB.com and televised by MLB Network.
As part of the acknowledgement, a never-before-seen vignette featuring 2014 All-Stars standing up to cancer -- including Derek Jeter, Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Jones, Jon Lester and Giancarlo Stanton -- will be unveiled.
Robert Downey Jr., Melissa McCarthy, Steve Carell, Sofia Vergara, Ben Falcone, Kevin Bacon, Anna Kendrick, Tony Goldwyn, Dave Grohl, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Gad, Giada De Laurentiis, Jaime King, Mira Sorvino, Joe Manganiello, Jordana Brewster, Alison Sweeney, Amanda de Cadenet, Charlie Wilson and Diem Brown will be part of the appeal to help build public support for SU2C's groundbreaking translational research that, according to SU2C, can provide patients with new therapies to save lives now.
Those stars join previously announced participants Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Couric, Reese Witherspoon, Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Jon Hamm, Kiefer Sutherland, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Mark Harmon, Rob Lowe, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tony Hale, Dane Cook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Marg Helgenberger, Matt Passmore, Rob Riggle, Italia Ricci, Ethan Zohn and Bree Turner.
Special musical performances include: The Who, Jennifer Hudson, Lupe Fiasco & Common, Ariana Grande and Dave Matthews Band.
The first three SU2C telecasts took place on Sept. 5, 2008, Sept. 10, 2010, and Sept. 7, 2012, and they were made available to more than 190 countries. To date, more than $261 million has been pledged to support SU2C's innovative cancer research programs. Since 2008, SU2C has funded 12 "Dream Teams" of researchers and two translational research teams, as well as 26 young innovative scientists whose high-risk, potentially high-reward projects are aimed at ending cancer's reign as a leading cause of death worldwide.
As founding partners of SU2C, MLB and its 30 clubs have committed more than $40 million to this initiative. MLB has collaborated with Stand Up To Cancer on significant awareness-building efforts, including public service announcements, in-stadium promotion and fundraising events, and it has dedicated one World Series game to the initiative for each of the past three years.
During the last Winter Meetings in December, MLB and its clubs staged their second annual SU2C Auction that raised more than $120,000 over four days. It was just the latest show of support.
"I am proud of Major League Baseball's industry-wide support of Stand Up To Cancer and the many creative ways in which our game has contributed to its extraordinary mission," Selig said. "The auction at the Winter Meetings is particularly special because it was inspired by brave members of the baseball family who are among our peers. We hope to bring many joys of the game to our fans while advancing the vital work of our friends at Stand Up To Cancer."
Selig and his wife, Suzanne, were honored at the 2010 event, as SU2C named its first Innovative Research Grant after the Seligs because at that time they were the first major donor to SU2C, with a $10 million initial pledge in 2008 and nearly $30 million total. This will mark the fourth and final time that Selig has presided as Commissioner through an SU2C telethon.
Paltrow and Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions will co-executive produce the broadcast of the telethon, which is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Instead of the traditional phone bank staffed by celebrities, this telethon will feature a "digital lounge" on the set, hosted by Couric. Stars in the digital lounge will reach out to viewers via phone, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms through a new campaign called "We're Calling You." Supporters can sign up for it at werecallingyou.org.
"Cancer affects us all," said Paltrow, who lost her father, Bruce Paltrow, to oral cancer in 2002, "and each and every person can help the scientists who are working 24/7 to save more lives. We want to get that message out in as many ways as possible, so we're excited to use social media to reach supporters from all over who are helping to grow the Stand Up To Cancer movement, and hopefully, get even more people to stand up with us."
In the on-stage digital lounge, Couric will tap into the Facebook Mentions Box, which allows supporters to share their connection to cancer and receive real-time responses from celebrities. Other celebrities in the digital lounge will participate in Facebook Q&As, using their own pages to respond live to fan questions. Facebook and Instagram also will have a presence on the red carpet with a photo experience that captures stars as they make their way into the theater, sharing those images and videos with fans. Follow @SU2C on Twitter and Instagram, and like their page at facebook.com/su2c.
Once again, there will be a media roadblock for this telethon, more inclusive than ever in the U.S. and for the first time featuring a Canada-inclusive co-broadcast airing on all four of its major English-language Canadian networks. All funds received from the Canadian general public during the broadcast will be directed toward the creation of collaborative research teams, as well as education and awareness programs conducted in Canada.
SU2C was founded on the belief that collaboration would play an integral role in advancing cancer research. To date, the organization has brought together more than 750 of the best and the brightest research scientists from 112 institutions in six countries to work together in order to save lives now. SU2C-funded researchers have planned, launched or completed more than 140 clinical trials.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.