The six-year-old research group Stand Up To Cancer is featuring Samuel L. Jackson in its “In Play” campaign. The effort’s goal is to increase awareness about childhood cancers, as well as stressing the importance of seeing pediatric oncologists for childhood cancers and supporting pediatric cancer research.
The campaign, being done in tandem with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, features four of the charity’s Honored Kids—patients who have or have had cancer. The introductory video shows kids at a playground, placing children as patients in the context of normality.
“Samuel L. Jackson is a powerful actor and has played some seriously tough guys. It seems very fitting that we have someone with his level of intensity and power speaking out against childhood cancers, which are seriously tough diseases,” Kathleen Ruddy, chief executive officer of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, said in a statement about Jackson’s PSA.
The PSA keeps Jackson’s hard-edged image at bay, but he adds a playful twist to his persona in the behind-the-scenes video, in which, arms crossed, he says, “I’m kicking childhood cancer’s butt.”
Jackson’s PSA is part of a larger connection between Stand Up to Cancer and St. Baldrick’s.The two groups created what they call a “Dream Team” focused on childhood cancer research. The team draws on researchers from seven institutions, including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the National Cancer Institute and the University of British Columbia. Stand Up To Cancer and St. Baldrick’s bankrolled the Dream Team with a $14.5 million grant that will be distributed over four years.
There are also Dream Teams for conditions including breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and research that targets PI3K women’s cancers, among others.
Several organizations have chipped in money to support Stand Up’s initiatives, including MasterCard, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline.
The campaign also reveals personal connections. Nancy Goodman, a member of the joint scientific advisory committee, whose son, Jacob, died of cancer, explains in a video that even kids who survive have treatments that can leave them with “terrible illnesses. Cognitive impairments. Neurological deficiencies… it’s not a way to live a life.”