More than $144 million pledged in ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ drive

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Stand Up To Cancer Canada (SU2C Canada) has  announced that more than CAD $144 million has been pledged collectively in the United States and Canada so far in connection with the star-studded Sept. 9 “roadblock” fundraising telecast.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who helped make the 2016 telecast a huge success,” said Lisa Paulsen, chair of EIF Canada, the Canadian registered charity of which SU2C Canada is an initiative. She is also a co-founder of SU2C and president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation of which SU2C is a division. “Supporters of all types are helping ensure that the innovative and lifesaving research that SU2C makes possible in Canada and the U.S. will continue to drive progress for patients battling this insidious disease.”

Broadcast live from The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, the 2016 telecast, the fifth by Stand Up To Cancer since 2008, was the second to feature Canada-inclusive content in a co-broadcast carried live by all four major English-language Canadian broadcasters: CBC, City, CTV, and Global. Additionally, Canadian services AMI, Bloomberg TV Canada, Blue Ant Media, CHCH, CHEK, Fight Network, Hollywood Suite, Joytv, NTV, and TLN Television also aired the telecast, and it is available on-demand on shomi and TELUS Optik TV in Canada. In all, the live telecast aired simultaneously over more than 60 broadcast and cable networks and streaming services in the United States and Canada and featured a stellar cast of celebrated figures from the worlds of entertainment, music, and science, as well as several cancer survivors who have benefited from SU2C-supported research initiatives.

Dream Teams

“We are profoundly grateful to our partners and supporters for embracing SU2C’s innovative model that fosters collaboration across institutions and disciplines and encourages researchers to work side-by-side,” said Alan Bernstein, O.C., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and co-chair of the SU2C Canada Scientific Advisory Committee. “And we are very pleased with the progress our Dream Teams are making with the support they are receiving through SU2C Canada.”

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Funds pledged support SU2C Canada’s and SU2C’s breakthrough research on new treatments for various forms of cancer, using an innovative scientific model based on collaboration within teams of scientists at research institutions. SU2C Canada is an initiative of EIF Canada, which was founded by the Entertainment Industry Foundation in 2013. EIF Canada is a Canadian registered charity (Reg. # 80550 6730 RR0001).

One highlight of the hour-long, commercial-free telecast was a performance by Canadian superstar Céline Dion, who closed the programme with a moving rendition of “Recovering,” a song given to her by Pink about rebounding from loss which she dedicated to her husband, father and brother, all of whom died of cancer. Keith Urban, with Little Big Town and Dierks Bentley, performed David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Canadian Alessia Caraperformed a medley of songs with Charlie Puth and Gallant.  Also appearing live on stage was Canadian actorWill Arnett, who narrated a pre-recorded segment highlighting SU2C Canada’s research, as well.  The SU2C telecast was executive-produced by Bradley Cooper, Academy Award-nominated actor and founder of the Bradley Charles Cooper Foundation, along with the award-winning event producers Done + Dusted in collaboration with SU2C’s production team.

Explanations from supporters

A central motif of the telecast was “Reasons To Stand Up” – explanations from supporters as to why they joined in the fight against cancer. “ET Canada” Host Cheryl Hickey; “Breakfast Television Toronto” Co-Host Kevin Frankish; Torri Higgins, who plays “Natalie Lawson” on CBC’s “This Life“; and Marilyn Denis, host of her own show on CTV, all shared their reasons.  SU2C Canada invites the public to contribute their own reasons to stand up using #Reasons2StandUp.

In addition to Cooper, celebrities who appeared on the show included SU2C co-founder Katie Couric, Alison Sweeney, Allison Williams, Anna Kendrick, Ben Affleck, Bree Turner, Brenda Song, Brittany Daniel,Charlie Wilson, Chris Evans, Danielle Campbell, Dave Franco, Ed Helms, Emma Stone, Eric Stonestreet, Eva Longoria, Greg Grunberg, Jacob Soboroff, Jillian Michaels, Jon Hamm, Jordana Brewster, Josh Gad, Karla Souza, Kathy Bates, Ken Jeong, Kevin Hart, Klay Thompson, Kristen Wiig,Lena Dunham, Marcia Cross, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Matt Bomer, Matthew McConaughey, Mayim Bialik, Mel B, Odette Annable, Rita Wilson, Rob Riggle, Robert Patrick, Shannen Doherty, Sonequa Martin-Green, Tom Hanks, Tony Hale, Viola Davis, and Zach Galifianakis.

Social Media personalities Brandon Armstrong, Grace Helbig, Joey Graceffa, Justine Ezarik, Harry Hudson, Brittani Louise Taylor, My Nguyen, Andrea Russett, Gemma Stafford, along with entertainment celebrities, interacted with viewers via Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram during the show from a backstage center called “The Hub.”

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Executive Producer Bradley Cooper, who lost his father, Charles Cooper, to lung cancer in 2011, said, “Stand Up To Cancer’s mission to accelerate cancer research will one day mean that every cancer patient can become a cancer survivor. SU2C’s dedication to supporting patients and families through science and innovation is close to my heart. I am proud to join forces with Stand Up To Cancer to help achieve this vision and to join the movement dedicated to bringing lifesaving treatments to patients around the world.”

Translational research

The telecast helps fund SU2C’s and SU2C Canada’s groundbreaking approach to translational research, accelerating the delivery of new therapies to patients by getting them from the “bench to the bedside” as quickly as possible. All funds received from the Canadian general public during the broadcast will support collaborative research conducted in Canada.

SU2C Canada responds to the alarming fact that two in five Canadians are expected to develop cancer in their lifetimes. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada—responsible for 30 percent of all deaths—with 500 new cases diagnosed every day. The disease claims the lives of some 78,000 Canadians each year.

Since its inception in 2014, SU2C Canada has launched two “Dream Teams” of researchers, each focused on developing new treatments for a particular type of cancer. The first Stand Up To Cancer Canada Dream Team was announced in 2014 to research new approaches to treating triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and other aggressive types of breast cancer. An investment of CAD$9 million from a coalition of funders, including Stand Up To Cancer Canada; the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF), with support from CIBC; and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) supporting clinical trials in the province of Ontario, is funding a pan-Canadian team led by Tak W. Mak, Ph.D., director of the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, and Samuel Aparicio, B.M., B.Ch., Ph.D., Nan and Lorraine Robertson chair in breast cancer research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and head of the Department of Breast and Molecular Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency.

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Brain cancers

In February 2016, SU2C Canada announced its second collaborative Dream Team, this one focused on brain cancers in children and adults using genomic and molecular profiling technologies to focus on the cancer stem cells that drive the growth of tumours. Peter B. Dirks, M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgeon and senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, is Leader of the team, along with Co-leader Samuel Weiss, Ph.D., director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. The research is funded by CAD $11.7 million from SU2C Canada, Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium (CSCC), and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) which is supporting clinical trials in the province of Ontario.

Collaborators providing multi-year support for SU2C Canada research through the inaugural Stand Up To Cancer Canada initiative include: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF), with support from CIBC; Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Cancer Stem Cell Consortium; Genome Canada; and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. AstraZeneca Canada and MasterCard are the first corporate supporters of SU2C Canada. The American Association for Cancer Research International – Canada is SU2C Canada’s Scientific Partner and works with SU2C Canada’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) to oversee the work of the Canadian Dream Teams. – CNW

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