Reese attended and co-chaired the Stand Up To Cancer Standing Room Only event at the weekend, to celebrate the work Katie Couric has done for cancer advocacy. Reese wore a blue dress by David Koma, shoes from Yves Saint Laurent, and Draper James earrings, and was accompanied at the event by her husband. Read more about the worthwhile charity event below, and find photos in our Gallery.
Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth’s Ideal Date Night Involves Sleeping In the Next Day
Reese Witherspoon and husband Jim Toth ended their Saturday night by dancing onstage to Jamie Foxx’s hit “Blame It (On the Alcohol)” – a charity event-turned-date-night for the couple.
The pair, who served as co-chairs for Stand Up to Cancer N.Y.C.’s Standing Room Only event at Cipriani Wall Street, told PEOPLE that the party was “sort of” a romantic outing.
Then how would the actress define a real, quality date night? “Going to a nice dinner and not having to wake up at the crack of dawn with the kids,” she said. “That’s nice.”
Witherspoon, who celebrated her fifth anniversary with Hollywood agent Toth in March, and a week earlier, her starry 40th birthday party, indicated that they usually include their children in their festivities.
“They were at my party, it was really fun,” she said. “Except for the little one [son Tennessee, age 3]. We had cake with [him] the next day.”
Witherspoon mentioned that she and Toth planned to jet back to Los Angeles to be with the kids on Sunday. “They’re growing up,” she said. “They have school on Monday, so we’re going to fly back and see the tomorrow. They’re in high school, junior high, and pre-school.”
SU2C, meanwhile, is a charity close to their hearts. Toth helped found the fundraiser – with donors American Airlines and Merck – which honored Katie Couric on Saturday and raised an extraordinary $42 million.
“My husband lost his father to cancer seven years ago,” Witherspoon explained of their involvement. “And it has been his mission to raise money for SU2C and raise awareness about early detection and cancer research.”
Witherspoon said that she never met Toth’s father, but told PEOPLE, “He was a real guy’s guy, which is how my husband is, too. His guy friends are really close to him in life, so that’s nice.”
And what most impresses her about her husband? “He’s an incredible man, a wonderful organizer, a great leader. He knows how to get people together. He’s very patient and funny with the kids. And he really encourages them to see the humor in life.”
Later, at the podium, Toth said, “My father, the inspiration for this evening, is truly looking down and saying, ‘How the hell is he here doing this?’ ”
He added, “And as much as he irritated me, I surely never envisioned life without my father. That’s why I’m here. His fight with lung cancer was brief, only eight months, and when he passed away, my only emotion was anger… at that point in my life, I realized I needed to turn it into a positive.”
“Jim Toth is a friend of mine, but also my agent,” Foxx, told PEOPLE. “I didn’t get to meet his dad, but we shared the same birthday. And when he first launched this event, I said, ‘Any time you need me!’ ”
SU2C Honors Katie Couric For Her Dedication to Cancer Advocacy at NYC Star-Studded Fundraising Event
STAND UP TO CANCER HONORS CO-FOUNDER AND AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST KATIE COURIC FOR HER DEDICATION TO CANCER ADVOCACY AT STAR-STUDDED NYC FUNDRAISING EVENT, WITH $42 MILLION PLEDGED TO SUPPORT SU2C
American Airlines and Merck Announced as New Major Donors; New Major Contributions from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Genentech
Major League Baseball, MasterCard, Cancer Treatment Centers of America and The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research Celebrated for Long-Standing Commitment
Co-Chaired by Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth, with MasterCard President/CEO Ajay Banga and his wife Ritu, Event Featured Performances by Tony Bennett, Sheryl Crow, Jamie Foxx and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum
New York, NY, April 11, 2016: Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) honored SU2C Co-Founder and award-winning journalist Katie Couric for her dedication to cancer advocacy at a star-studded fundraising event here Saturday night. A portion of the proceeds will be devoted to research on colorectal cancer, the disease that took her first husband’s life and launched her tireless career as a cancer advocate.
The cancer-fighting initiative also announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment from American Airlines, welcoming the company together with Merck as a new major donor. Also announced were new major commitments from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. With Bristol-Myers Squibb and Genentech, Major League Baseball, MasterCard, Cancer Treatment Centers of America and The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research were also celebrated at the event for their significant, long-standing support of Stand Up To Cancer.
Presented by the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the “Standing Room Only” event was chaired by Jim Toth and Reese Witherspoon, and MasterCard President and CEO Ajay Banga and his wife Ritu, and featured special performances by Tony Bennett, Sheryl Crow, Jamie Foxx and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum.
Upon receiving her award, Katie Couric said, “This honor means the world to me, but the real heroes are the scientists and doctors who are working day and night to find new ways to help patients fighting cancer. My fellow co-founders and I are in awe of what you do, and it is our incredible privilege to share the major strides that you’ve made—and the hope you’ve already given so many patients—by collaborating through Stand Up To Cancer.”
American Airlines’ new collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer will actively engage its employees and customers to grow the SU2C grassroots community, while increasing awareness of cancer research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. American Airlines is dedicated to supporting causes that are personal to its employees as well as its customers.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to support Stand Up To Cancer, an organization that is taking a very unique and progressive approach to solving the cancer equation,” said Elise Eberwein, Executive Vice President, People and Communications at American Airlines. “Their mission to share research opportunities and results across a variety of populations and aggregate those findings for the betterment of all synchs up perfectly with our own calling to deliver seamless service. Further, with an employee population of over 100,000 employees, cancer is unfortunately more familiar to many of us than we want. We’re hopeful that our own team members could potentially benefit from research advanced through Stand Up’s collaborative approach.”
Additional celebrities and notable guests in attendance included Alec Baldwin, Ken Jeong, Maura Tierney, Joe Torre, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Emmy Rossum, Alice Eve, Donna Karan, Scott Lagasse, Jr. and Alana Stewart. In addition to Couric, members of SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors Sherry Lansing, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pam Williams, Ellen Ziffren, Kathleen Lobb; and SU2C President Sung Poblete, Ph.D. also attended.
“Whether it’s the next great performance or the next scientific breakthrough, our imagination and ambition make these milestones possible,” said event chair Jim Toth. “Tonight, we honor and celebrate those who’ve come together to imagine a new world—a world in which every cancer patient becomes a survivor.”
Colorectal cancer survivor David McGowan, who credits Katie’s awareness efforts with saving his life, helped present the award to Couric. The evening also brought together cancer survivors with the SU2C doctors who treated them. Dr. Shannon Maude of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a member of the SU2C-St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, joined her patient Emily Hunt, a 16 year-old who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 7 and was treated with an immunotherapy 18 months ago; she remains in remission today. Dr. Jedd Wolchok of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the co-leader of the SU2C-American Cancer Society Lung Cancer Dream Team, joined Karen Taphorn, a patient diagnosed with metastatic melanoma that spread to her lungs; she was treated with a combination of immunotherapy drugs and is now stable.
“When we Stand Up To Cancer, we are putting this insidious disease on notice that we won’t back down—that each and every one of us can make a difference. Fighting cancer is an all-hands proposition. MasterCard is privileged to be one of those hands,” said event chairs Ajay and Ritu Banga. “Cancer is personal. It’s indiscriminate. It’s soulless. And its time is running out, if not in our lifetimes, then in our children’s—but soon!”
“At Merck, we believe strongly that advancing innovative science and the care of patients with cancer requires collaboration,” said Dr. David Kaufman, executive director, Oncology Clinical Research at Merck Research Laboratories. “Our support of this initiative stems from our commitment to patients and recognizes the tremendous impact that Stand Up To Cancer continues to have on the cancer community.”
“Bristol-Myers Squibb remains a long-time supporter of Stand Up To Cancer, as we have a shared mission of increasing survivorship for the cancer community,” said Murdo Gordon, senior vice president and head of Worldwide Markets, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “We will continue to partner with others to relentlessly pursue research that may positively impact patients, and thank Stand Up To Cancer for their enduring determination to fight this disease.”
“We recognize SU2C as an important ally in the fight against cancer, and share a mission to advance science to better treat and one day possibly find a cure,” said Troy Cox, senior vice president, BioOncology at Genentech. “We are proud to join forces with SU2C, because cancer is a formidable opponent and it will require every one of us coming together to beat it.”
American Airlines and Merck & Co., Inc., join Founding Donor Major League Baseball, MasterCard, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech and the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research as major donors. Bloomberg Philanthropies, CVS Health, Eli Lilly, Fifth Third Bank, Fox Family Cancer Research Funding Trust, KWF (the Dutch Cancer Society), Pfizer, the Safeway Foundation, Sean Parker Foundation, Siemens, Oakland A’s Owner and Managing Partner Lew Wolff and the Laura Ziskin Family Trust are also among SU2C’s significant donors.
Collaborators include The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, American Cancer Society, Cancer Research Institute, Cancer Research UK, Farrah Fawcett Foundation, HPV & Anal Cancer Foundation, Melanoma Research Alliance, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, Prostate Cancer Foundation, St. Baldrick’s Foundation and The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) provides scientific oversight and grants administration.