Stand Up To Cancer and Major League Baseball do 'whatever it takes' to fight cancer in PSA campaign

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) unveiled a new public service announcement (PSA) campaign during game 4 of the World Series.

In collaboration with Major League Baseball, the PSA, titled ‘Whatever It Takes,’ features Major League players and moments from MLB’s Championship Season that underscore the message that the end of the fight against cancer is unlikely to come from a single “home run,” but rather will be the result of numerous and smaller yet meaningful scientific advancements that keep the fight moving forward.

Continuing a tradition that launched in 2011, the spot featured a moving tribute – the ‘SU2C Placard Moment’ – which followed the end of the fifth inning. Thousands of fans in the ballpark held cards to honor those currently in the fight or who have been lost to cancer. MLB and its 30 Clubs are the founding donors of SU2C, committing $43m to date to SU2C’s innovative cancer research.

In addition to the broadcast PSAs, a print PSA that features images of major leaguers Jason Kipnis (Cleveland Indians), Michael A. Taylor (Washington Nationals), and Yasmani Grandal (Los Angeles Dodgers) will also be launched. In both PSAs, the players, each of whom appeared in the 2017 MLB Postseason, prepare to drop down bunts alongside photos of 10-year-old cancer survivor Jacob Teel of Delight, Arkansas, and 33-year-old cancer survivor Dalia Margolis of Los Angeles.

Teel, who has battled cancer three times in his young life and was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 3, became a media sensation after appearing in the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game this past July during MLB All-Star Week in Miami. He hit a single and scored the first run for his team after MLB network analyst and former MLB all-star pitcher Al Leiter asked Teel to pinch hit for him.

Margolis was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in 2005 when she was 22. She underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy and was declared cancer-free in 2006.

“Major League Baseball is proud that our partnership with Stand Up to Cancer is a prominent part of the celebration surrounding jewel events,” said MLB commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “We hope that launching this new public service announcement campaign alongside this year’s World Series Stand Up moment will give added attention to the cause. Due to the great support from our fans, Clubs and players, Baseball continues the fight against this horrible disease.”

Added SU2C co-founder Rusty Robertson: “The leadership, compassion and generous commitment MLB has demonstrated and made is absolutely extraordinary. For nearly a decade, MLB has been one of our biggest allies in leading a national movement for cutting-edge research and innovative cancer treatments to save lives. The sight of 50,000 people of all walks of life standing shoulder to shoulder with players, coaches, broadcasters, and owners, holding signs in honor of loved ones, has become one of the most indelible and moving tributes in all of sports and pop culture. It underscores how this terrible disease affects everyone, and it will take a powerful movement to end it.”

As a metaphor to describe the cancer research work being done by scientists and doctors worldwide to make discoveries that will advance new treatments, the PSA uses MLB game footage of several players executing one of baseball’s simplest, yet often effective, plays – the bunt (opposed to hitting the big home run) – to drive home the game-winning run.

Washington Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor said: “I am honored to be included in this Stand Up To Cancer campaign, and proud to help Major League Baseball in supporting this worthy cause. Unfortunately, it seems we’ve all had our lives touched by cancer in one way or another. I admire the strength and perseverance of all who go through that battle, and those committed to finding a cure.”

Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis added: “I’m proud to participate in MLB’s SU2C campaign – with my mother’s illness and witnessing what Mike Aviles’ young daughter, Adriana, went through, I’m eager to assist any way I can to eliminate this awful disease.”

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said: “I’m appreciative of everything MLB is doing in the fight against cancer, and I’m honored to be included in Stand Up To Cancer’s campaign. My wife and I had a dear friend recently diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and we’re proud to stand with her and do what we can to support others in their battle against this horrible disease.”

The PSA features the message: “As we continue to swing for the fences, at Stand Up To Cancer we know that any advancement can bring someone home. Stand up for the 16 million people living with cancer in the US and Canada. Visit StandUpToCancer.org.” The TV, print and radio creative was developed by San Francisco-based Duncan Channon.

Since SU2C’s launch in 2008, Major League Baseball has provided year-round promotional support, including featured spotlights during the World Series, the MLB All-Star Game and many other individual games and activities throughout the year.

Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

All by Kyle