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'Survivor' launches cancer charity partnership with Ethan Zohn


By Reality TV World staff, 08/17/2010 

Survivor has launched a longterm partnership with Stand Up To Cancer, an entertainment industry charity organization that raises money for groundbreaking cancer research.

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Survivor is the first television series to create its own Stand Up To Cancer team, which will be led by cancer survivor and Survivor: Africa winner Ethan Zohn, who will serve as its spokesperson.

Zohn -- who also competed on Survivor: All-Stars in 2004 -- is currently in remission from Hodgkin's lymphoma, which he was diagnosed with last year.

"Prior to when I was diagnosed with cancer, I'd [been talking with] CBS because for the longest time people have been using the Survivor brand to raise money for a bunch of different charities, which is great," Zohn told Reality TV World during a Tuesday conference call.  "So I wanted to start a charity that Survivor is kind of spearheading and have them really get involved with something and do something that no other program on CBS has ever done before."

"We've been working hard for the past, I'd say year [or] eight months to get this off the ground and up and running and figure out what it would look like and trying to find a good organization to partner with.  And the great thing about this is that it's not just a one-off thing, this is a long-term alliance that's going to be going on every day of the entire year.  Forever, hopefully."

According to Zohn -- who co-founded Grassroots Soccer, an African HIV prevention charity with a portion of his Survivor: Africa winnings in 2002 -- several factors made him decide to begin working on a second charity initiative.

"It's the 10-year anniversary of Survivor and as we all know we lost a good friend to the family, Jenn Lyon, this past year, and I was diagnosed.  It's the perfect opportunity to launch an initiative like this," he told reporters. 

"They say 'the Survivor family,' but we are a family.  Whether you're on the cast, or you're a crew member, or you're CBS, we take care of each other.  You're all somewhat friends and we come together to fight cancer."

Numerous other former Survivor castaways will also be involved with the team, which is planning several charity events.  First event is tentatively being planned for February, according to Zohn.

CBS will also begin running a series of public service ads featuring more than a dozen former contestants, including Rupert Boneham, Amber Brkich-Mariano, James Clement, Colby Donaldson, Cirie Fields, Russell Hantz, Jerri Manthey, Rob Mariano, Jenna Morasca, Parvati Shallow, James "JT" Thomas Jr., Sandra Diaz-Twine, Benjamin "Coach" Wade, and Tom Westman.

Zohn and several other former contestants will maintain blogs on the team's donation page on the Stand Up To Cancer website.

"The past year has given me some perspective on a whole new meaning of the word 'survivor.'  A lot of things have happened to me and so I think I have a new perspective on life and I'd like to share that with everyone," Zohn said.

CBS is also producing limited edition Survivor buffs that viewers will be able to purchase to support the Stand Up To Cancer team.

Whether Survivor's involvement will include any in-program integration with new editions of the show hasn't been determined yet.

"That I don't know right now.  We're definitely discussing it, but as of right now nothing is confirmed," Zohn told Reality TV World.

In addition, it is also still unclear whether the Stand Up To Cancer team will become part of Survivor's usual post-finale prop and item auctions which have previously raised funds for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and The Serpentine Project, a foster care assistance charity founded by Survivor host Jeff Probst in 2008.

"We're going to wait and see about that.  Usually it's with Elizabeth Glaser and that relationship has been fantastic, and The Serpentine Project, which is Jeff Probst's charity as well," Zohn told Reality TV World.

"So we'll see what happens with that, if it can be worked into that."

Zohn -- who said he'd "definitely consider" competing on Survivor again now that he has overcome his cancer -- also suggested the possibility of a future Survivor edition that would directly benefit the charity.

"Maybe we'll do cancer survivors versus television Survivors on two different tribes... maybe they'll donate the prize to Stand Up For Cancer, the one million dollars, that'd be cool," he told reporters. 

"No one would show up, [though]," he joked.

(Photo credit CBS)


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