Standing Up 2 Cancer. Next to Charles Barkley.

Heidi Adams — By on October 15, 2008 at 9:52 am

So I had the privilege of attending the Stand Up 2 Cancer live broadcast at the Kodak Theater. (Side note: did you know that the Kodak is built onto a friggin’ MALL? I’m not kidding. So weird.)

My friends Julie Dresner, Teal Thompson, Jennifer Ippolito and I joined representatives from 100 other advocacy groups for a luncheon, pre-show rehearsal and then the actual show. All the advocates wore t-shirts representing their organizations. It was a veritable rainbow of slogans and colors, representing issues, diagnoses and subgroups across the cancer spectrum. I’m not biased or anything, but our t-shirts were the coolest. :-)


Julie and I! Her grounded approach to cancer is one we ALL could learn from. Our T-shirts: “I had cancer and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.” and “Planet Cancer: Just like Animal Planet, but with less hair.”

Teal Thompson, former Austinite and good friend, now back in L.A.

The pre-show rehearsal was really fun. Lots of celebs milling around onstage by the phone banks figuring out their positions and rehearsing lines for their own individual bits, along with stand-ins for the more illustrious or otherwise-tied-up celebs.

Yes, Jennifer Aniston is still gorgeous in her cutoffs and no makeup. As is Scarlett Johanssen. And Jennifer Garner, who is QUITE preggers.

Kris Carr was on the celeb phone bank as well, sporting her snazzy “Crazy Sexy Cancer Goddess” t-shirt (I must have one of those). I posed as her publicist so she could sneak me up to the 5th floor to do some star-stalking on the press gauntlet.

Of course I’m a dork. I was gawking at Goran Visnjic, the hot Croatian doc from ER, and Kris elbowed me with the reminder: “Okaaaay, if you’re my publicist we don’t POINT.” Duh. So I knew, when we got in the elevator with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, to respond with a nonchalant shrug when she asked if we knew where the green room was. And not to point. :-)

Then it was showtime! There was an amazing feeling of anticipation when the house lights went down and the music came up, and when Patrick Swayze walked out onstage, the place just exploded. Then Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams were all standing there together, representing all three major networks who were simultaneously broadcasting the show.

The highlight for ME, of course, was that in the middle of this jam-packed, hourlong broadcast, with all the complex information that had to be conveyed, young adults got our moment in the national spotlight. Our gorgeous rock star Rachel Ainsworth stood up there and told the nation that she was a two-time lymphoma survivor diagnosed as a young adult. That “No one expects you to get a life-threatening illness in your 20s. Everyone thinks you’re invincible.”

And then John Krasinski (who plays Jim on “The Office”—LOVE him!), standing next to her, said this:

“Young adults with cancer sometimes fall through the cracks. The odds of a young adult surviving cancer haven’t improved in 30 years. Don’t allow them to become cancer’s lost generation.”

I thought I was going to jump out of my seat!! (Watch it here.)

I’m as cynical as the next person most days, but there was something about everyone, all together under one roof, participating in an event that was broadcasting into millions of homes and drawing a line in the sand, saying: “This is where the end of cancer begins.”

It gave me shivers. And, I have to say, hope.

You can do a lot with $100 million, especially if the parameters set for the “Dream Teams” doing the research succeed in breaking down institutional silos and competition. (For where the $$ goes, click here.)

We’ll see. We very well will see.

Oh, and while I was floating up there on Cloud Nine afterwards, I met Sir Charles Barkley, the Round Mound of Rebound Himself! He’s from small-town Alabama, too, so we got along juuuust fine.

The rest is here:
Standing Up 2 Cancer. Next to Charles Barkley.

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