When Barbra Streisand learned that heart disease takes the lives of more women than all cancers combined, the 70-year-old entertainment legend sprang into action.
Leveraging her personal fortune and network of deep-pocketed friends, Streisand partnered with the Women's Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to set a fundraising goal of $20 million.
"Through gender-specific heart research, the development of new diagnostic tools, breakthrough clinical trials using stem cells to enable the heart to heal itself, and specialized care for women, the Women’s Heart Center is improving the detection and treatment of women’s heart disease," she writes on her site
. "When you consider that 40 percent of women don’t survive their first heart attack, you can see why I’m excited about this work!"
Back in June
, Streisand threw a major fundraising event at her Malibu home featuring guests like former President Bill Clinton and performances by Josh Groban, David Foster and more. Thanks to that event, and her own personal donations exceeding $10 million in matching funds, The Hollywood Reporter said Friday
that Streisand had exceeded her goal with a total donation of $22 million.
"Streisand played an active role in helping secure significant donations through her personal contacts with stars including Ralph Lauren, Ronald Perelman, Sumner Redstone, Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, Irwin Jacobs and Haim Saban, among others," the site reported. "She also helped convince New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make a $1 million gift."
According to WomenHeart.org
, more than 42 million American women live with heart disease, many of them unaware of the symptoms that can lead to a heart attack.
"It's an epidemic," says Streisand. "Women don't have the chest pains or left-arm pains. They come in to the hospital with nausea and fatigue, but we don't have the proper diagnostic techniques or machinery because the research in the past 50 years has been done on men."
In honor of her epic contribution, the cardiovascular program at Cedars Sinai will be renamed the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.