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Initiative Links Celebrities to Cancer Research
Date:5/29/2008

Major League Baseball donates $10 million to novel effort

THURSDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- Celebrities from both the entertainment industry and Major League Baseball gathered Wednesday in Los Angeles to launch a nationwide initiative that will fund the brightest researchers to complete both basic and advanced cancer research.

Dennis Quaid, Melissa Etheridge, David and Rosanna Arquette, Christina Ricci, Elizabeth Berkley, Jimmy Smits, Goran Visnjic and other stars mingled in the lobby of the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, looking at the demonstrations of the Stand Up to Cancer Web site and munching on breakfast before the press conference.

The initiative's purpose is to raise funds to accelerate cancer research, and all three major television networks have agreed to donate a simultaneous hour of commercial-free primetime programming for a special at 8 p.m. on Sept. 5. Earlier in the day, anchors from all three networks -- ABC, CBS and NBC -- announced the initiative together during live appearances on each network's morning show.

The TV special is meant to draw attention to the need for more cancer research and to fund more scientific discovery, Sherry Lansing, former chairwoman of the Motion Picture Group of Paramount Pictures, told the crowd of about 200 attending the press conference. "It will be a special that will make cancer as important as the war in Iraq."

The idea for the initiative began, Lansing said, as she and her colleagues have been increasingly touched by cancer. "Every day, we would pick up the phone and hear about another person touched by cancer," she explained. They were aware of various advocacy groups, but thought centralizing efforts made more sense.

"So, we decided to speak with one voice," she said. Besides Lansing, the leadership team includes CBS anchor Katie Couric; Entertainment Industry Foundation CEO Lisa Paulsen; TV/film producer and cancer s
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