September 11th, 2012
03:45 PM ET
Red carpets, glitz, glamour and celebrities - that's not the typical Friday night scene for most medical news producers.
But this past Friday evening, I had the honor of attending Stand Up 2 Cancer, a telethon to end a disease that has touched each of us in some way.
This year's telecast honored Laura Ziskin, one of the original SU2C founders, who recently lost her battle with breast cancer.
Meeting Laura at the last telethon in 2010, it was instantly obvious that, as her daughter Julia told one magazine, "Cancer picked the wrong woman to f- with!"
In the seven years that Laura considered herself a "cancer survivor," she made more of an impact on the disease than many of us will ever make, and it showed Friday night.
An endless parade of A-listers made their way down the red carpet, surrounded by cancer patients and scientists (this was an unusual Friday night activity for them as well, I'm sure.)
Everyone from the likes of Julia Roberts to Taylor Swift, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Robert Pattinson, Alicia Keys, Michael Douglas, Seth Rogen and many more showed up to lend their support to this amazing cause; and their efforts paid off, to the tune of $81 million.
From a less glamorous point of view, Stand Up 2 Cancer has invested in so-called scientific "dream teams," putting together researchers around the globe who are working on the same science, in the hope of finding a cure more quickly.
In the four short years since SU2C began, the program has raised more than $200 million, granted money to over 300 scientists, and formed seven dream teams: one each to combat prostate cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and three teams looking at alternative treatment methods.
With the money raised this year, the organization hopes to establish the eighth dream team, focused on pediatric cancers.
Aside from seeing these A-list celebrities up close, and taking a picture with Ty Burrell of "Modern Family," I felt that being in the audience was a symbol that I, too, was standing up to cancer - not just as a medical journalist, but as someone who has been touched by this disease.
I stand up for my grandfather, Joseph Melnick, who died in 1996 from liver and stomach cancer. Whom do you stand up for?
To find out more about Stand Up 2 Cancer or make a donation, click here.
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.