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MLB & The Team of All-Stars in the Fight Against Cancer

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In Anaheim tonight, Major League Baseball (MLB) will host one of the most exhilarating nights of the season as the American and National League duke it out for home field advantage in the World Series. Most Americans will tune in to see the best in the game play under one roof. As one of the nearly 12 million cancer survivors in the United States, I will be tuning in to cheer for Major League Baseball itself and how the organization has used its remarkable platform to literally save lives.

You've probably seen the pink bats and blue wristbands baseball players have used to raise awareness for breast and prostate cancer respectively. You have likely read about MLB's extremely generous contributions (in the tens of millions) made to various cancer organizations. And you may have watched as players stood up in support of a fellow teammate diagnosed with this vicious disease -- like recently, when San Diego Padres' coach Dave Roberts was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Bud Selig's tenure as MLB Commissioner is marked by many successful innovations, such as inter-league play, the wild card and expanding MLB's footprint through digital media. But it is his commitment to causes "beyond baseball" that I believe will be his lasting legacy. Tonight there will be moments that will bring Angel Stadium to its feet. Because history has taught us that in baseball, "miracles can happen when a team works together."

That also happens to be the first line in the new Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and Major League Baseball PSA which will premiere during tonight's All-Star Game at 8;00 p.m. ET on FOX. The new PSA, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, touches upon the parallels of teamwork in baseball and teamwork in the fight to end cancer. Collaboration and teamwork are very simple concepts, but it's surprising how often they are ignored when they're clearly the key component in the road to success--whether it's in respect to our national pastime or working to end cancer.

Tonight, if the stars align, a player will hit one of the MasterCard "Hit It Here" signs in the outfield -- and a million dollars will be donated to innovative cancer research. This is just one of the creative ways MLB is calling on its partners to join in the fight. Earlier this year, SU2C launched its first partnership with an individual team, the San Diego Padres. Together we created signing walls around PETCO Park, which on September 29th will be converted into the honorary outfield wall in PETCO Park. Fans are encouraged to sign the walls as a tribute to friends or family members affected by cancer. In addition to signing the walls, fans will also be able to lend their support through donations -- 100% of which will go to cancer research.

MLB has been one of SU2C's biggest supporters since our founding in 2008, including an initial $10 million donation. Stand Up To Cancer raises funds to bring together doctors and scientists from around the world who work on innovative research designed to get patients new treatments faster and ultimately end cancer. It is our collective belief that we have the power to see the end to cancer in our lifetimes. By collaborating to engage baseball fans across the nation, we are spreading the message that it is up to each and every one of us to stand together. Regardless of what team we may cheer for on the field, we all need to do our part to bring an end to a disease that claims 560,000 American lives each year.

On Sunday, SU2C was privileged to be a benefiting organization and a part of the All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run presented by Sports Authority and Nike. SU2C proudly stood with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and City of Hope as we collectively rallied for the common goal of ending cancer. Though our organizations have different focuses in the fight against cancer, we're all still playing for the same team. No one organization, no one scientist, no one doctor, no one cancer center can solve this daunting problem alone. It's going to take a team of all-star scientists and doctors, and cooperation from organizations to conquer this disease. The private sector will need to collaborate with government organizations, and vice-versa. And most importantly, there needs to be a massive outcry from the public to keep the drum beating.

As in baseball, teamwork is at the core of what we do at Stand Up To Cancer. SU2C works to fund and unite doctors and scientists from different institutions and backgrounds on "Dream Team" cancer research projects. Our first dream teams brought together doctors and scientists from over 50 institutions, hospitals and research facilities. Collectively their work has the potential to impact the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of cancers in adults and children across ethnicities including pancreatic, breast, ovarian, cervical, uterine, brain, lung, prostate, rectal and colon, and leukemia and lymphoma, which represent approximately two thirds of all U.S. cancer deaths. But this is just a fraction of the work we can be doing, and the work that's needed to be done.

MLB has allowed us to extend our teamwork mantra to communities across America, and turn fans of the game into fans rallying against cancer. Regardless of which League prevails tonight, all of us win because of MLB's commitment to end cancer. That's something we all can root for.

To learn more about how you can join our team at SU2C, visit www.standup2cancer.org.

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