For most people, the month of October represents a joyous time of year – the changing of the seasons, a crisp, cool fall breeze, the aroma of Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes permeating through the air, and anticipation of major celebratory holidays right around the corner. However, to philanthropists around the nation, the thirty-one days of October mark an important cause in the form of pink ribbons – that is, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
According to the world-renowned MD Anderson Center at the University of Texas, the following statistics about breast cancer are real and should be considered:
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. It affects one of every eight American women.
- The Center for Disease Control estimates that more than 192,370 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and the number of new cases has declined over the past decade. More than 40,000 women lose their lives to this disease annually.
- Men can develop breast cancer, but it happens much less often than in women. Nearly 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
For these powerful Hollywood women, the topic of breast cancer hits closer to home than ever, since they illustrate only a small fraction of women who have battled this terrible disease:
The Oscar-winning actress, best known for her roles in blockbuster featured films such as “Titanic” and “About Schmidt”, as well as her most recent prominent television role on NBC’s “Harry’s Law”, is a two-time cancer survivor. After successfully battling ovarian cancer ten years ago, Bates announced in August 2012 that she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.
2) Edie Falco
In 2003, actress Edie Falco was on top of the world, relishing in her career as a major character star on the hit HBO television series “The Sopranos”. However, while starring on the highly-acclaimed and popular show, Falco was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since announcing her remission, Falco is doing well, both professionally and personally. She currently stars in the leading role on the Showtime television series “Nurse Jackie”, and she is a devoted mother of two adopted children.
Famed “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, four years after the HBO hit series which launched her career into the media spotlight ended. Nixon publicly revealed to the media that she discovered a lump in her breast, and further medical treatment revealed that she had an early stage of breast cancer. After completing radiation treatment, Nixon has been declared ”cancer-free” by her team of physicians.
4) Giuliana Rancic
The vivacious and bubbly 37-year-old host of “E! News” received her own devastating news in the fall of 2011 when she was informed that she had breast cancer after undergoing a mammogram by her physician. The diagnosis was a huge shock to Rancic and her husband, Bill (the first season winner of the NBC television series “The Apprentice”), who were desperately trying for children. At the time of Rancic’s diagnosis, she was about to undergo her third in-vitro attempt. After electing to proceed forward with a double mastectomy, Rancic is happy, healthy, and thriving, as she and Bill recently welcomed a son via a gestational carrier.
Since it is not uncommon to see celebrities vocally endorse and support certain charitable causes through advocacy or product placement, like Breast Cancer Awareness Month, do you believe that celebrities involved in philanthropies are genuinely sincere, or is it just a strategic tactic to win public support? If a famous celebrity is involved in a research or outreach campaign, do you believe that he or she should have a personal emotional connection to that particular cause, or just be well-educated on the facts and figures? If one of your favorite Hollywood icons is tied to a specific campaign, are you more likely to monetarily contribute or get actively involved in that celebrity’s endorsement of a particular organization? In what ways do you contribute to any worthwhile charitable causes?