If You Missed Katie on the Stand Up to Cancer Special, Here Are the Highlights and How to Donate

Common

From touching personal stories to heartfelt musical tributes, we’re sharing the top moments from this year’s Stand Up to Cancer Special.

Every day, 1,670 people die of cancer in the United States alone. That means practically every single American’s life has been touched by cancer. That fact inspired Katie to co-found Stand Up to Cancer, an organization that raises money to fund cancer research. One of SU2C’s main fundraising events is their annual telecast special, which was broadcast on more than 60 media platforms this past Saturday night. This year’s special was a star-studded event, with A-listers like Reese Witherspoon, Stevie Wonder, and Matthew McConaughey involved to help raise awareness and money for the organization. And as a result, $143.18 million was pledged in the U.S. and Canada collectively in connection with the fundraising special. In case you missed it, we’ve highlighted the six most moving moments from the evening. You can also watch the whole show here — and please consider making a donation to SU2C.

Katie Shares the Personal Story Behind Stand Up to Cancer

Our fearless leader joined Saturday’s telecast to remind viewers of how close cancer hits home for so many people.

“Like countless others, cancer has affected me in a deeply personal way,” Katie shared during the telecast. “I lost my husband Jay in 1998 to colorectal cancer when he was just 42. And a few years later, my older sister Emily died of pancreatic cancer. She was 54. I realized I had to do something,” she said. “So, I joined forces with eight remarkable women and we launched Stand Up to Cancer with a mission to make every cancer patient a long-term survivor through the power of collaboration, both inside and outside the lab.”

She went on to thank their partners for supporting the “critically important research of Stand Up to Cancer.”

We couldn’t be more proud of Katie for the work she’s done with Stand Up to Cancer.

Anthony Anderson Talks Healthcare Equality

Anthony Anderson
Actor Anthony Anderson highlights three “dream team” zones.

It’s a common problem that in medically underserved communities, cancer screening rates are low. Actor Anthony Anderson knows this from personal experience. “I’m just a kid from Compton,” he explained on Saturday night’s telecast, “Nobody came around and talked to us about taking care of our health. No one told my family to get screened for colorectal, lung, breast, prostate, or skin cancer.” Anderson revealed that in a span of just 18 months, he lost his biological father and three of his father’s siblings to cancer. He then urged the audience to get screened for cancer, saying “we go to doctors when we’re sick — when it’s too late.” 

Anderson also announced an exciting new initiative that SU2C is launching in partnership with Exact Sciences that targets three areas in Boston, Los Angeles, and South Dakota that have low screening but high mortality rates for colorectal cancer, especially among people of color. Starting in these three zones, SU2C will launch a new Dream Team, which will offer free colorectal screenings and community education to residents with the goal of early detection and treatment. 

A Cancer Love Story

Yaphet and Kellie Smith are high school sweethearts who have been married for 32 years. A few days after their 30th high school reunion, Kellie was diagnosed with myeloma, a blood cancer that has no cure. With very little knowledge about the disease, Yaphet threw himself into researching the best doctors and treatments to help save his wife. He ended up getting Kellie in to see a myeloma specialist, and even enrolled himself in the PROMISE study, a SU2C supported trial that tests healthy people who may be at risk for multiple myeloma. Because multiple myeloma is more common among African American people, Yaphet was eligible.

Kellie is now in remission, and she attributes that to her husband: “I never doubted that you loved me, but now I really know. I do think that you saved my life.” 

Chadwick Boseman’s Wife Simone Performs In His Honor

On August 28th, 2020, actor Chadwick Boseman lost the battle that he had been quietly and valiantly fighting against colon cancer. He was just 43 years old. Boseman is survived by his wife Simone Ledward Boseman, to whom he proposed to in October of 2019 and married just months before his death. During the telecast, Simone performed a tearful rendition of I’ll Be Seeing You. Anthony Anderson described the song as one about “living with the reality of loss, and finding a way forward,” and it seems that Simone is doing just that. 

Ken Jeong and Tran Ho on Tran’s Breast Cancer Journey

Ken Jeong and Wife Tran Ho
Actor Ken Jeong and his wife Tran Ho

Actor Ken Jeong and wife, Tran Ho, had just welcomed beautiful baby twins when Tran found a lump while breastfeeding. She was young, a new mom, and had no family history of cancer, so was shocked when she was diagnosed with stage three triple-negative breast cancer. Tran faced the cancer head-on, and just two days before starting chemo she took the eight-hour medical board recertification exam. “Taking this test was my way of saying, ‘I’m going to beat this,’” she said. She’s been cancer-free for 13 years. 

Sofia Vergara Shares Her Cancer Story

Sofia Vergara
Actress Sofia Vergara shares her cancer story.

You probably know Sofia Vergara as the beautiful, talented actress who played Gloria on Modern Family. What you may not know is that Vergara is also a cancer survivor. When Vergara was 28 years old, during a routine doctor’s visit, her doctor felt a lump in her neck. After multiple tests, she learned that she had thyroid cancer. Luckily doctors caught it early and Vergara is now cancer-free. “I learned a lot during that time,” she said, “not just just about thyroid cancer, but that in times of crisis we’re better together.” 

Common Performs With Stevie Wonder

The show closed out with an amazing performance of Courageous by Common, PJ and Stevie Wonder, who played a very impressive harmonica solo. To round out the song and the special, Common shared a message with the audience: “To all the survivors and their families, we honor you. We support you. We believe in you. We appreciate you. We love you.”