Tom Mahoney and Marcia Cross Tom Mahoney and Marcia Cross

Marcia Cross, an actress best known for playing buttoned-up Bree Van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives, is an advocate for many charities, but her work with Stand Up to Cancer has taken on particular significance since husband Tom Mahoney was diagnosed with the disease in 2009. Cross has appeared in PSAs for the organization's 2010 telethon, on which she'll appear alongside such luminaries as Adam Sandler, Denzel Washington, Stevie Wonder, George Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow and Renée Zellweger. talked to Cross about how she got involved, how her husband is doing and why it's important for people to donate.

How Jaime King helped create a somehow funny PSA about cancer How did you get involved with Stand Up to Cancer?
Marcia Cross:
You know, it's kind of funny how these things work out,  but I literally found out through the Internet that I had become an ambassador to Stand Up to Cancer. Nobody actually ever asked me. I don't know what happened, but it seemed very appropriate, so I thought, "I'm just going to go with it." Do you know what you'll be doing on the broadcast?
I'm going to walk the carpet and then I'm introducing Lady Antebellum and Kris Kristofferson. And then I'll be working the phone bank for the rest of the night. This obviously has personal significance to you. Is that why you got involved?
Yeah. One would like to go, "Cancer, I don't know a thing about it." But unfortunately, that's not the case, and I don't think I'm unique in that. Everybody is affected by someone with cancer. And how is your husband doing these days?
You know what? Knock on wood, he is absolutely 100 percent clear at the moment. It's always checking, checking, checking for another year or so.

Stand Up to Cancer's Laura Ziskin: "Let's get cancer out of the closet" Why is it important for celebrities to get involved?
It gets people to watch for the hour. People want to see celebrities that they're interested in, and hopefully they'll relate and want to pick up the phone and donate. It's just a way of keeping us all connected really. We're no better or worse. Cancer doesn't discriminate.
Yeah, it doesn't care. Cancer so doesn't care.

Stand Up to Cancer airs Friday at 8/7c on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, HBO, VH1, HBO Latino, TV One, G4, Discovery Health, E!, MLB Network, the Style Network, Bio, Current TV, mun2, Showtime and the Smithsonian Channel. You can also watch the show in a live stream here on

Watch Cross' PSA: