Winter Meetings Stand Up to Cancer transcript

THE MODERATOR:  Thank you guys all very much for being here today.  It is humbling and it is a huge honor for those of us to stand up here and hold this news conference.  We appreciate all of you guys coming out today.  The initiative that you're getting a release about probably in your inboxes right now, is all of us here, the various PR people from around the league that work with you every day, we are going to stand up to cancer.  We have had far too many instances within our ranks, among our friends.  It started several years ago with Rob Doelger in the league office.  We've had from the Cardinals Melody Yount, from the Orioles Monica Barlow, from the Diamondbacks David Carl, most recently Shannon Ford of the Mets, and we just feel like it's our time now to stand up and do something about it.

What we've decided to do in this first year here is to put together what we believe could be one of the coolest online auctions that baseball has ever seen.  There's probably about 75 or so of us up here.  We thought we might all fit on the dais; I guess not.  But there's about 75 of us here, and there's probably about 75 items if you go right now to MLB.com/SU2C auction, that's Stand Up To Cancer auction.  You can also view it on the MLB home page and get there, but there are some unbelievable items and we'll just give you a couple of them so you have some idea that you can let your viewers, your readers know about.

Right now fans can bid on a chance to have breakfast with Hunter Pence; they can get a guitar session with Bronson Arroyo, they can ride the Orioles team bus to a game.  Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard are going to show up at somebody's school once the season starts.  You can have the racing sausages show up at your kid's birthday party.  J.J. Redick, who has won a Gold Glove, is going to do a meet and greet with a fan, and then that fan gets to be on the field when J.J. gets his Gold Glove, an unbelievable once in a lifetime opportunity.

We've got 17 different Hall of Famers who have come through with items and about 15 current or former All Stars that have all offered to help the cause.

Before we turn it over, just want to say some thank yous on behalf of all of us at the league.  To the commissioner's office, of course at the top Commission Selig for supporting us; Jacqueline Parkes, Pat Courtney, Matt Bourne have been a huge help to us throughout this whole process.  Over at MLB.com from the very top, Bob Bowman and Dinn Mann have pushed this thing through and given us tremendous exposure, so we're grateful for that, as well as Matt Tomaska, who put together the auction itself, MLB Network, XM Radio, everybody has been great.

So what are we asking you guys to do?  We're hoping that you guys can spread the word for us.  We hope that you guys can tweet, you can put it in your notebooks, you can tell it to your audiences, however it is you get the word out, but this will really only work if we get the word out to people that there are unbelievable items out there.

Again, I'll say thank you, turn it over to Jacqueline to say a few words, and thank you for your support.

JACQUELINE PARKES:  Thanks, Josh.  On behalf of Commissioner Selig and everyone at baseball, this is truly an unbelievable day.  Commissioner Selig had the vision to partner with Stand Up To Cancer to try to help eradicate cancer in our lifetime, and never in my tenure have I seen anything like this.  The people who are responsible for promoting the stories are actually the story themselves.  Inspired by their own, they've come together to put together something to make a difference, and I think that's something that really speaks volumes to the partnership of Stand Up To Cancer and Major League Baseball and the movement itself that together each one of us can have a role in helping eradicate cancer.

Go on the auction, go to MLB.com, check out the amazing items and realize that the statistics that are facing people with cancer are statistics we need to change, and we can have an impact on that with organizations like Stand Up To Cancer who have formed collaborative dream teams to change the prognosis and outlook people have with cancer.

So inspiring to be here, Josh.  I thank you for your leadership; I thank all 30 club PR executives who are so busy at this time and yet made this a priority for each one of them.  As all of the Major League Baseball players did during the World Series, all the umpires, the coaches, the managers, Sue Selig and all of the executives, I'd like to ask everyone to stand with the PR directors, stand up for cancer right now, stand for the person that you're affected to, that you're committed to that's fighting the battle, beating the battle, lost the battle.  Let's all stand for a moment in the fight against cancer.

I'd like to now introduce Kathleen Lobb.  Kathleen Lobb is one of the nine amazing women who founded Stand Up To Cancer back in 2008.  Kathleen is also the senior vice president of the Entertainment Industry Foundation and traveled here today because of the unprecedented support of the 30 club PR executives.  Kathleen is going to have a couple of words to say to all of you.  Thank you so much.

KATHLEEN LOBB:  Thank you, Jacqueline.  I just can't even begin to express how moving it is to see everyone here in full force with your placards and your shirts today.

As Jacqueline mentioned, I'm one of the co founders of Stand Up to Cancer.  In this country we lose one person every single minute of every single day to cancer.  One in two men, one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their life times, and I know those are statistics that have hit home really hard to many of the clubs this past year.

In 2007, this group of women that Jacqueline referred to, all of whom worked either in Hollywood or in the media, and you will of whose lives were profoundly affected by cancer in some way, began to fixate on one singular goal:  Use the entertainment industry's resources to get people excited about supporting a brand new approach to cancer research, one that would facilitate collaboration among scientists at different institutions, and most importantly, get new therapies to patients much more quickly than has been the norm.

We wanted to get a populus movement going where everyone understood two basic things:  This is a moment of incredible promise in cancer research, and each and every person can make a difference in the fight against this disease.

Many of you here today, and when I say fixate, those of you who know my colleagues can understand exactly what I mean by that.  Many of you know Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz, the members of our team who oversee this incredible relationship with MLB.  The other cofounders include the journalist and talk show host Katie Couric; Sherry Lansing, the former CEO of Paramount Pictures; Lisa Paulson, the CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation; nonprofit executive Ellen Ziffren; cancer survivor Noreen Fraser; and the legendary film producer Laura Ziskin, who we lost to breast cancer last year.

With an unprecedented commitment from the major television networks to donate the air time for a simultaneously broadcast fundraising event and wonderful guidance from top scientists about how we should go about supporting team of researchers, we were ready to embark on our fundraising efforts.  And through a serendipitous turn of events, our inaugural pitch meeting was with MLB.

The plea was impassioned, the response was quick.  MLB was in as Stand Up To Cancer's founding donor.

Commissioner Selig and the owners chose to support this brand new initiative, gave us critical legitimacy and stature.  It was key to our ability to persuade other major donors to step up in those very early days.

Fast forward to today, which is less than five years later, there are eight research dream teams that have been established, 26 young investigators who are doing high risk work that has the potential for very high reward in terms of saving lives.

Next week we're due to announce our ninth team, and with that, the total of scientists working together through SU2C will be more than 400.  Prior to this initiative, there really was no major funding mechanism that facilitated a doctor at UCLA working with a doctor at M.D. Anderson working with someone at Sloan Kettering in New York, so this is truly revolutionary in the cancer world.  Stand Up simply wouldn't be here today without Commissioner Selig, the whole MLB organization and all of the incredible staff members at each and every club.

MLB's remarkable financial support has been surpassed only by the vast visibility we receive through the relationship with MLB.  You all have used your extraordinary presence in living rooms throughout America to raise awareness.  MLB has engaged fans, having them literally stand up by the tens of thousands, in stadiums across the country, to show their commitment to help end cancer's reign as a leading cause of death.

You've undoubtedly seen the SU2C in stadium integration during the All Star games, during the Playoff games, during the World Series.  Our public service announcements featuring Steve Carell and others have been playing out in the lobby, those are broadcast during the games, and then those really moving I stand up for live moments like we just had now, where players, umpires, fans, everyone in the stadium are holding placards in honor of their loved ones touched by cancer.

All of the MLB teams have been incredibly supportive, sponsoring events and initiatives in their own markets.  MLB fans have come out in force as part of this grass roots movement that it was our dream to develop, and that has truly been a gift.

When we were hearing about the items that you all had come up with for the auctions, everyone on our team was putting together the list of the baseball fanatics among our friends and family because they're just extraordinary things that fans will really gravitate to.

So I want to thank Commissioner Selig, Tim Brosnan, Jacqueline, and everyone on the MLB team and all 30 clubs for this extraordinary support that you've given us over these years.  It's been a remarkable collaboration that's helping effect change and all for the huge benefit of people affected by cancer.  Thank you.  Thank you, all.

THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to have everybody come up and sign the wall, as well.  I knew I would forget to say something because that always happens, but one thing I want everybody in the room to also think about is not just those of us in the PR world that have been affected by in the baseball family.  I spoke with Dave Cameron, baseball writer; Michael Weiner, the union head; and even most recently the story that Joe Strauss did on the Duncan family in St. Louis.  All of you guys know people who have been affected, as well, and to that extent if you can help us, we know it's probably not as exciting as the latest rumor circulating out there, but we think it's equally as important.

Thank you guys again.  If we can we want media, all of the PR people to sign the wall here and be a part of helping us Stand Up To Cancer.  Thank you all very much.