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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cancer is big, but so are the celebrities determined to help conquer it.
“Let’s build a world where cancer is no more,” a somber Hanks said on the hour-long program that was carried commercial-free by the major broadcast networks and a number of cable channels.
Some of the stars who participated had seen cancer sicken or claim a family member. Others had fought the disease themselves.
“It picked a fight with the wrong guy,” said Douglas, who had throat cancer. “Cancer didn’t bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet. I stand tonight because I want to be part of this effort to find an end to cancer. This is possible.”
The telethon included short films about people fighting the disease, including a 3-year-old boy, Justin, who distracts himself from treatment with a favorite toy.
“I don’t really think about me passing away. But if I ever do, I’m taking my Legos with me,” he said in the video, with a feisty smile.
Onstage, Justin Timberlake asked the studio audience to stand up for the child, who attended the event.
The program honored the memory of “Spider-Man” movie producer Laura Ziskin, who helped found Stand Up to Cancer. She died last year at age 61 after battling breast cancer for seven years.
“Like every great hero, she had a vision and she set us into motion,” Emma Stone said in a videotaped tribute to Ziskin. “And now it’s up to us to continue moving forward to achieve her dream.”
The amount of money pledged during the telethon was not immediately available. Donations also can be made online at standup2cancer.org, the group said.
Taylor Swift performed a song she wrote for a young cancer victim, a 3-year-old who died last year. Swift wrote “Ronan” after reading the blog of the child’s mother, Maya Thompson, who is credited as a co-writer.
The song is available on iTunes, with proceeds to go to cancer-related charities.
Other performers included Alicia Keys (“Not Even the King”), Coldplay (“Paradise”) and Tim McGraw, who closed the show with his poignant “Live Like You Were Dying.”
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