Sheryl Crow, Christina Applegate and Melissa Etheridge by Craig Sjodin/ABC Sheryl Crow, Christina Applegate and Melissa Etheridge by Craig Sjodin/ABC

Cancer survivors Christina Applegate, Lance Armstrong and Patrick Swayze were among 60 celebrities who made history Friday night when ABC, CBS and NBC united for a simultaneous, commercial-free hour devoted to a live telethon to help fight the disease.

The Stand Up to Cancer fundraiser was led by some of the biggest names in music, sports, TV and film, while network news anchors Katie Couric, Charles Gibson and Brian Williams emceed the program.

Brad Garrett was the guinea pig in a demonstration of a prostate exam, while NBA star Charles Barkley shared his colonoscopy with viewers. The worst part of the experience was fasting, Barkley said. "I'm a fat guy. I don't like to go the whole day without eating," he said.

Jack Black, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry and Keanu Reeves - along with presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama - were among the stars participating in the show. Neil Patrick Harris, America Ferrera, Christina Ricci and Kirsten Dunst answered phones.

A visibly pregnant Jennifer Garner, along with Halle Berry, Forest Whitaker and Casey Affleck, read personal accounts from those battling cancer, including 37-year-old Lowell Winer of Manhattan Beach, Calif. "It was an honor to be selected to participate in Stand Up to Cancer, which is such an important event for the cancer community," Winer told "Adding the power of so many celebrities and prime time television makes Stand up to Cancer a truly unique and amazing event, capable of lending tremendous momentum to research fundraising and survivor advocacy. I hope and expect that the impact of tonight will be felt well into the future," he said.

Winer has been battling Hodgkin's disease for nearly two years, including aggressive treatment of chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, and a month of radiation later. "It appeared I might be in remission. Not so lucky. The disease is once again progressing, and I am resuming clinical trials," he said. "Not an hour goes by without thinking about my cancer. It seems to be part of every decision I make. Odds are that I will die from this disease in the next few years, but research advances are made every day. So, I'll continue to fight for my health, live each day to the fullest, and enjoy loving friends and family, without whom I would not be able to fight this fight." Winer has chronicled his battle on a blog titled I've Got Cancer in a Choke-Hold.

The show featured musical performances by James Taylor and Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban and Monica Mancini, Melissa Etheridge with Sugarland, BeBe Winans and Jason Mraz. It also featured a performance by more than a dozen divas - including Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Rihanna - who sang their new charity song, "Just Stand Up," via video from the Fashion Rocks show in New York.

Aniston helped close the program with a nod to Hollywood. "In our world, the boy gets the girl, the hero defeats the villain and cancer is no more," she said. - Jennifer Holland