Olympic swimmer Eric Shanteau and Stand Up To Cancer.
Celebrities, athletes, scientists, and journalists gathered on September 5 for the commercial-free, one-hour television special Stand Up To Cancer, which aired simultaneously on ABC, CBS, and NBC to raise money for cancer research. The telethon averaged 10.3 million viewers and raised more than $100 million, which will be offered in the form of grants to scientists and their “dream teams” to pursue innovative research.
Diagnosed with testicular cancer in June, 24-year-old U.S. swimmer Eric Shanteau postponed surgery to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Shanteau swam his personal best time of 2 minutes, 10.10 seconds in the 200-meter breaststroke semifinals, but did not qualify for the finals.
Former White House press secretary Tony Snow, 53, died on July 12 after a second bout with colon cancer. After surgery confirmed the recurrence, Snow told reporters, “Not everybody will survive cancer, but on the other hand, you have got to realize you’ve got the gift of life, so make the most of it. That is my view, and I’m going to make the most of my time with you.”
Leroy Sievers, 53, a broadcast journalist and former executive producer of Nightline also died of colon cancer on August 16. Sievers kept a popular blog for National Public Radio called “My Cancer.” As of late August, the final posting had more than 1,000 comments from readers.
Actor Paul Newman, 83, is being treated for cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. While he hasn’t confirmed or denied the reports, Newman released a statement that he is “doing nicely.” According to long-time neighbor and business partner A.E. Hotchner, Newman continues to be involved in his charitable Hole in the Wall Gang camps for children with life-threatening diseases.
Former presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) raised more than $120,000 for cancer research after biking 100 miles the first day of the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge. Kerry rode in honor of fellow Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy who is being treated for brain cancer. All proceeds of the ride benefit Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
George E. Moore, MD, PhD, surgeon, oncologist, and cancer researcher who was among the first to link chewing tobacco with mouth cancer, died of bladder cancer on May 19 at age 88. Moore served as director of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, from 1952 to 1967 and helped expand it into a major cancer research center.
Actress Christina Applegate, 36, has undergone surgery for early-stage breast cancer. Applegate, whose mother battled both breast and cervical cancer, joined more than 30 celebrities for the Stand Up To Cancer event on September 5 to raise money for cancer research.
Gene Upshaw, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who later became the executive director of the NFL Players Association, died suddenly of pancreatic cancer on August 20, three days after his diagnosis. To honor him, the NFL announced that players will wear a black “GU” patch with his jersey number 63 through the 2008-2009 season. Upshaw was 63.