NEW YORK — Spurred by an historic telethon Friday night, viewers stood up to cancer and pushed total donations for research to battle the disease past the $100 million mark.
That dollar figure reflects contributions from viewers of the telethon, "Stand Up to Cancer," as well as money raised since late May, when the Stand Up to Cancer initiative was launched, according to Lisa Paulsen, head of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the charitable organization behind Stand Up to Cancer.
"One hundred percent of the more than $100 million raised will go directly to funding the research programs necessary to battle this insidious disease," said Paulsen in a statement Sunday that accompanied the announcement.
Research advocates and some 100 stars from music, sports, TV and film came together for Friday's live telethon, simulcast on ABC, CBS and NBC as well as cable's E! Entertainment channel, which provided the program to more than 170 nations and territories worldwide. Viewership figures for the program weren't immediately available.
Reminding the audience that cancer kills 550,000 Americans and six million people worldwide each year, the special was aimed at educating the public on cancer prevention and treatment, as well as raising funds to help fund research _ in particular, "translational research," which encourages scientists to collaborate rather than compete, translating basic science into applicable therapies for patients with varying cancer afflictions.
Jack Black, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry and Keanu Reeves _ along with presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama _ were among the celebrities participating in the hourlong show aired from Los Angeles.
It featured musical segments by performers including James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban and Monica Mancini. Serving as co-emcees, rival network news anchors Katie Couric, Charles Gibson and Brian Williams discussed advances in cancer research. And sitcom star Brad Garrett underwent an on-the-air prostate exam.
Stand Up to Cancer said announcements are forthcoming on how research grants will be distributed. Meanwhile, fundraising will continue by various means, including the organization's Web site.
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