By Ashley Hayes
Actor Samuel L. Jackson has played a mob hit man and a Jedi master, among other roles.
His newest role: Fighting childhood cancer.
Jackson is featured in a new public awareness campaign, launched by the St. Baldrick's Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer, aimed at increasing awareness about childhood cancers.
The campaign is designed to promote the "critical importance for infants and children, and in particular teens and young adults with childhood cancers, to be treated by pediatric oncologists," according to a statement from the organizations. "Survival for teens and young adults is far greater when treated on pediatric cancer protocols."
Each year, more than 175,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer, and it's the No. 1 disease killer of children. The campaign also highlights the need to support pediatric cancer research, the organizations said.
"When I was a child in the 1950s, most kids who got diagnosed with cancer had little chance of survival. Now, there is hope," said Jackson in a statement. "I am honored to join Stand Up to Cancer and the St. Baldrick's Foundation to help educate people about childhood cancer and the importance of seeing a pediatric oncologist."
Jackson, an Academy Award nominee who has appeared in more than 100 movies including "Pulp Fiction," "The Avengers" and the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy, is joined in the PSA by four St. Baldrick's Honored Kids, ages 10 to 19, who have all had cancer. Some of them are still fighting the disease.
"Samuel L. Jackson is a powerful actor and has played some seriously tough guys," said Kathleen Ruddy, chief executive officer of the St. Baldrick's Foundation. "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."
St. Baldrick's Foundation is the leading nongovernmental provider of childhood cancer research grants, according to the statement. Earlier this year, the foundation and Stand Up to Cancer announced the formation of a "Dream Team" dedicated to childhood cancer research. The SU2C -- St. Baldrick's Pediatric Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant will provide $14.5 million in funding over four years for this project.
Researchers on the team represent seven institutions in the United States and Canada.
"We are grateful to Samuel L. Jackson for lending his support to this extremely important campaign," said Sung Poblete, Stand Up to Cancer's president and CEO.
"While great progress has been made in the battle against childhood cancer, the sad fact remains that one in five children diagnosed in the United States will not survive. Through the creation of the St. Baldrick's-Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team, we are making progress in the fight against childhood cancer research."
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