Party With the World's Most Influential
April 20, 2005

Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People party brought out everyone from Donald Trump to Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn Tuesday night, and all the stars toasted cancer survivor and living inspiration Melissa Etheridge.

So what's Melissa's message to others battling cancer? "You know what? It's a journey," she said. "You're going to learn something."

Melissa even talked about her roof-raising performance at the Grammys, which inspired people around the world. "I had no idea, "Etheridge admitted. "I told my wife, 'I just don't want anyone to make fun of me.' I had some issues to work out, it was my job."

And Etheridge rocked the house again Tuesday, while Martha Stewart made one of her first public appearances despite being on house arrest. "It's going to be fun," Stewart said as she arrived.

Martha didn't say much, but emcee John Stewart couldn't help poking a little fun her way. "Sitting with her tonight really makes you appreciate how well our prison system is rehabilitating," John joked.

He may or may not be kidding, but Tuesday was a night for "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer to hope that Etheridge's survival story will ring true for his friend Peter Jennings.

"I hope he comes back and for a long time," Lauer said.

And Melissa had her own message of hope for Peter: "There's strength in truth, there's great strength in truth and any time you deny a part of yourself, it makes you weaker. So just sit in it and talk about it and be there."


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