It's been mere months since Jon Stewart left The Daily Show, but the amount of charitable work he's done since the show's finale is truly remarkable. Between helping raise over $2.2 Million for autism on the last day of The Daily Show, and then rallying for 9/11 first responders on Capitol Hill in mid-September, Stewart has made sure to put his efforts (and his money) where his mouth is.
Stewart's amazing year of advocacy continues, and on November 10th he, Bruce Springsteen, John Oliver, Seth Myers, and Ray Romano – among other artists, comedians, and musicians – got together to host and perform at the 9th annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Stewart and the Bob Woodruff Foundation Raise $6.1 Million in One Night
Together, with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Stand Up for Heroes raised more than $6.1 Million for post-9/11 wounded service members, veterans, and their families. Stand Up for Heroes was born after Woodruff, an ABC news anchor, was hit by a roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq, about 12 miles north of Baghdad, in 2006. He was covering the war and nearly died due to a traumatic brain injury. Though it took surgery, a medically induced coma, and about a year before Woodruff was ready to return to reporting, he miraculously recovered, and is once again able to walk and work. He created his Foundation to help others who've suffered similar injuries, and has a clear-cut mission, which is stated proudly on its website:
"Since September 11, 2001, 2.8 million troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, they’re coming home. Yet even after they return to the love and support of their families and communities, many will struggle. Physical and hidden injuries are challenging on their own. But sometimes, these injuries can lead to a cascade of other trouble — unemployment, depression, substance abuse, even suicide. Our mission is to ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving long after they return home. That’s why we find and fund innovative programs in communities where veterans, their families and caregivers live and work. That’s how we tackle the problems that can prevent our veterans from fulfilling their dreams for the next chapter of their lives."
Advocating for Veterans & First Responders with Cancer and Other Diseases
There was a lot of laughter and lighthearted joking at the Madison Square Garden event, but Woodruff and his wife, Lee, honored the military veterans in attendance, by reading off each of their names. "Tonight it's about you," Woodruff said. Stewart made sure to address the servicemen and women in the front rows directly, as well.
"You guys make me remember that we can be better," he said matter-of-factly. And events like this one certainly demonstrate that we can be and should be better.
In addition to the Woodruff Foundation and Stand Up for Heroes, Stewart has also shown support for the Zadroga Bill – a congressional act that guaranteed monitoring and treatment for first responders with 9/11-related health problems through at least 2015. Stewart has advocated tirelessly to bring awareness to this bill; he wants to ensure that people know the importance of extending it in order to continuously provide monitoring and treatment to veterans. First responders and veterans (particularly those who have served in the Navy) have had a much higher chance of developing diseases, including mesothelioma and other respiratory illnesses. This bill is especially important for them as the cost of medical visits and procedures tend to skyrocket very quickly.
Because of their massive groups of followers, celebrities like Stewart are able to reach a wider audience when raising money and awareness. By donating time and effort to charity events like Stand Up for Heroes and the Zadroga Bill rally, Stewart is helping veterans (and those affected by rare and deadly cancers) get the assistance and attention that they might not otherwise receive. Here's to more fundraisers like Stand Up for Heroes and more entertainers willing to give so much to this important cause.