UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Hundreds of fans lined a city block in this St. Louis suburb to catch a glimpse of stars like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds at the premiere of ``The Longest Yard'' to benefit rap star Nelly's charity.
Nelly, who has a role in the film, requested the event. Proceeds will help his JesUs4Jackie campaign, a national bone marrow initiative in honor of his sister Jacqueline ``Jackie'' Donahue, who lost her battle with leukemia on March 24 at age 31.
Nelly, who emerged from the theater dressed in white with a popcorn box in hand, spoke about the importance of the marrow drives and greeted screaming fans, who stood 10 deep in places. A few enthusiastic fans sat on the shoulders of others or peered from the upper levels of a parking garage for a better view.
A donor was never found for Donahue, but Nelly said her legacy continues and others have been helped through the drives.
``We're going to continue, you know, to push and help save lives,'' he said. ``You know, no matter what happens in my career, I know that I've helped to save a few lives and no one can take that from me.''
Burt Reynolds and Chris Rock said the film's stars had known that Nelly had a family member fighting leukemia during the filming and so wanted to attend the St. Louis-area event, which was held at the Tivoli Theater on Sunday.
``A lot of guys just came out to support our good friend, Nelly,'' Rock said.