'Stand Up to Cancer' Raises $100M Plus

Networks, activists, celebs come together to raise money for research.

ByABC News
September 7, 2008, 6:50 PM

Sept. 7, 2008— -- A campaign to raise money for cancer research that culminated in a telethon airing simultaneously on all three major U.S. networks brought in more than $100 million for the cause, telethon organizers announced today.

The funds will be used for new research and the development of experimental therapies for cancer patients, according to the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the nonprofit charity behind the event.

The figure included money raised from viewers since the campaign officially began, on May 28, 2008.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the country after heart disease, and The American Cancer Society predicts that 1,437,180 new cancer cases will be diagnosed this year alone.

Broadcast simultaneously for one prime-time, commercial-free hour Friday evening on ABC, CBS and NBC, the telethon featured appearances by celebrities including Jack Black, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry and Keanu Reeves -- not to mention presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama.

The telethon, which was broadcast from Los Angeles, represented an unprecedented coordination among the networks and reached an estimated 170 countries and territories.

"The statistics are staggering," said Charles Gibson, anchor of ABC News's "World News Tonight with Charles Gibson," when the campaign was launched in May. "Cancer claims one person every minute every day in the United States."

"Every year in this country, more than half a million people die from this disease," said Gibson, who took over the evening newscast after ABC News' Peter Jennings lost his battle with lung cancer in August 2005. "Worldwide, cancer kills more than six million people annually."

The telethon also featured musical segments by performers including James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban and Monica Mancini. Serving as co-emcees, rival network news anchors Gibson, Katie Couric of CBS and Brian Williams of NBC discussed advances in cancer research.

And television comedy star Brad Garrett underwent an on-the-air prostate exam.