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09/10/10 11:20 PM ET

Stand Up To Cancer honors Seligs' efforts

CULVER CITY, Calif. -- Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig played a prominent role in the fundraising efforts of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) on Friday night at Sony Picture Studios.

Stand Up To Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation that is aimed at raising funds for collaborate research in the fight against cancer, held a fundraising event and telethon featuring actors, musicians, athletes and other celebrities to raise money for the cause.

Selig and his wife, Suzanne, were honored at the event, as SU2C named its first Innovative Research Grant after the Seligs because they were the first major donor to SU2C with a $10 million initial pledge in 2008 and nearly $30 million total.

"It's an incredible event and incredible organization," Selig said.

"We're very proud to be here. Major League Baseball was one of the original sponsors of Stand Up To Cancer, and we have an ongoing four-year commitment. Of all the things we've done, I think this is the one I'm most proud of."

The announcement was made as part of a prime-time TV event, which was aired live on MLB.com and simulcast commercial-free on MLB Network, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Bio, Discovery Health, E!, G4, HBO, HBO Latino, mun2, Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, The Style Network, TV One and VH1.

The Seligs were introduced by actor Ray Liotta to a standing ovation and honored in a video segment featuring President Barack Obama, Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

"I share your passion for conquering this disease once and for all," President Obama said. "To Bud and everyone at Stand Up To Cancer, and everyone in America playing your part, thank you."

It was a touching tribute to honor the Seligs and Major League Baseball, especially because they played such a prominent role in helping SU2C become what it is today.

"Major League Baseball was the first significant contributor to Stand Up with us and they continue to be a lead donor for Stand Up To Cancer," said SU2C co-founder Laura Ziskin, who is the executive producer of the fundraising special and a cancer survivor.

"That financial support has been crucial for SU2C. Equally important is what MLB has done to help us build a grassroots movement. By engaging fans, Major League Baseball gets the word out in a huge way that all Americans can support the researchers working to deliver new treatments quickly. They have helped enormously with our efforts to convey this key message: each and every one of us has a role to play in ending cancer, and we are profoundly grateful for that."

The event also featured many who had been personally affected by cancer, including cancer survivors such as former Dodgers great Don Newcombe, who overcame colon cancer and was also at the event on behalf of Major League Baseball.

"We can attack this devil named cancer and we can beat him, but we need money," said Newcombe, the only player to win a Cy Young, MVP and Rookie of the Year Award. "A program like Stand Up to Cancer needs money, and that's why we're here doing what we're doing."

But it wasn't just Major League Baseball who played a role in the event, as it featured more than 100 celebrities who took time to help raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer.

"We're here to raise awareness as best as we can," said skateboarder Tony Hawk. "We're here to show that cancer affects all of us, not just celebrities or age-groups, but everyone."

SU2C, which was first held in 2008 and raised nearly $100 million after its first broadcast, uses its funds for its ultimate goal of ending cancer's reign as a leading cause of death.

"You can solve a lot when there are a lot of minds working as one," Liotta said. "That's the whole point of this. To raise money for doctors to work together."

The fundraising event was hailed as a success by all involved, and as Selig noted, he was honored that Major League Baseball was a part of it.

"It's a heroic fight against a horrific disease," Selig said. "The women who run this have been terrific in every way, so on behalf of everybody at Major League Baseball, we're very proud of everything they've accomplished and will accomplish in the future."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.