Local survivor grateful for "Stand Up to Cancer"

PHILADELPHIA - September 10, 2010

Kyra Sedgwick, Jay Leno and Ryan Seacrest also have been added to the list for the hourlong fundraiser, to be simulcast commercial-free by all the major networks, including ABC.

Other previously announced stars include Sally Field, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and George Clooney.

Donations to the telecast are intended to fund innovative cancer research. The first telethon, in 2008, helped raise more than $100 million.

"Stand Up to Cancer," hosted by news anchors Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams, will air at 8 p.m. EDT Friday.

RELATED: Stand Up to Cancer website

Local cancer survivor Dee Burrell said she is moved to see the attention going toward cancer research.

Four years ago she went for her mammogram, like she had every year, but even before she got her results she had a feeling something was wrong.

Indeed there was.

Doctors discovered Dee had a small but aggressive form of breast cancer known as HER-2 positive. This meant she would need surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

She would also take a drug called Herceptin, which slows the growth of cancer cells.

"I'm really grateful, I cannot imagine what it may have been like 20 years ago," Dee said.

The American Association for Cancer Research, headquartered in Philadelphia, helps establish where the money from Stand Up to Cancer goes. The CEO, Dr. Margaret Foti, says it will fund projects that can get new therapies to patients within three years time.

"With the current time devoted to drug discovery and development, especially for cancer, this speed is meteoric," said Dr. Foti.

Dee is now cancer-free and now works as a motivational speaker, and she hopes Stand Up to Cancer will inspire more people to help make a difference.

RELATED: Dee Burrell's website

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