When I went to meet Eric Stonestreet last week to discuss his charity work with Ready. Raise. Rise., the question on my mind was one he’s undoubtedly been plagued with since the first episode of Modern Family aired in 2009. I wondered if he’d be anything like his character, Cam, a hilarious, flamboyant stay-at-home dad with a flair for theatrics. “I’ve said this at many interviews,” he tells me when I finally ask. “But I’m good at registering different levels of disappointment on people’s faces because, you know, while I think I’m a quality, nice human being who has a good sense of humor, my sense of humor is much more dry and much more dark.”
With the long-running sitcom picked up for two more seasons and syndication not slowing down, the question is bound to live on, but Stonestreet says that isn’t the worst thing. “The reason I feel kind of okay about all of it is I know for a fact for the 12 years it took me to get the job on Modern Family, I wasn’t just doing a version of Cam for those 12 years.” On top of that, the platform built for him by his role as Cam has allowed Stonestreet to publicly tackle an issue quite close to his heart.
For the third year in a row now, he has partnered with Ready. Raise. Rise., a campaign dedicated to raising money for various cancer advocacy groups and to raise awareness of immuno-oncology research, a method of utilizing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Along with ambassadors Tia Mowry and Dak Prescott, Stonestreet hopes to raise $150,000 for the the campaign by July 31.
“Just go to readyraiserise.com and you can raise a flag for someone that has been touched by cancer,” Stonestreet explains. “Or someone who has unfortunately lost their life and passed away, a nurse, an oncology doctor or, you know, somebody that has touched your life or you want to support. Bristol Myers-Squibb will donate up to $150,000 to different cancer advocacy groups that have partnered with Ready. Raise. Rise.”
Stonestreet’s mother is a two-time cancer survivor who has been free of the disease for 15 years. “I do stuff like this because a cancer diagnosis for somebody can feel like they just got hit with a million pounds of bricks,” says Stonestreet. “And there are definitely times that it’s a not good diagnosis, but more and more—and as we gain more and more [information] on cancer—those diagnoses are changing. They’re becoming less and less. That’s not always the case, but some tumors and some cancers were terminal five years ago and are no longer that. People need to know that. People need to know that something that seemed hopeless maybe five years ago—there’s a severe amount of hope now where there wasn’t.”
To raise a flag in the fight against cancer, head to readyraiserise.com