October 9, 2009
Celebrities use their fame to raise awareness about breast cancer and followings to raise funds. Actress Sarah Chalke from the television hospital comedy "Scrubs" is the 2009 Passionately Pink for the Cure Ambassador. On the Komen Web site and publics, she urges fans to donate to the cause.
In the past few years, more than 100 music celebrities have supported the National Breast Cancer Foundation by contributing autographed memorabilia, recording public service announcements, and helping to promote events. You'll recognize these "All Star" givers - Reba McEntire, Amy Grant, Terri Clark, Heart and Donny Osmond.
Being a star is of no shield against breast cancer. When the rich and famous are stricken, some fight back with their fame. Melissa Etheridge took her battle to the stage of the 2005 Grammy Awards. The loss of her hair to chemotherapy was a dramatic catalyst for open discussions about the disease. Her fight inspired the Pink Bracelet Fund - a not-for-profit organization started by her fans to raise money for breast cancer research.
Canadian punk-rocker Bif Naked announced last year that she has breast cancer. The 36-year-old singer is speaking out, urging women to schedule regular screenings and emphasizing that cancer can affect even those in great health. Christina Applegate became a breast cancer survivor at the age of 36 in April 2008. Appearing on Oprah, the television star explained she had a clear mammography every year since age 30 because her mother had breast cancer. But, when doctors recommended an MRI because of her increased risk, they found cancer in her left breast. Plus, she found out she carried what is known as "the breast cancer gene," so she had both breasts removed. She continues to speak out for MRIs for breast cancer detection, which most health insurers won't cover.
Julia Child was unusually candid for that time about having a mastectomy in 1974. She survived 30 more years, dying at age 91 of natural causes.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor made news in the 80s as the first female Supreme Court justice diagnosed with breast cancer. Justice O'Connor went to a speaking engagement and had her mastectomy the next day. She was back on the bench less than two weeks later.
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