Celebrities stand up to cancer
Everyone from Tony Hawk to Dr. Oz pitch in on multi-network telethon to raise millions for research. We caught up with the stars on the red carpet.
Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 04:42 PM
SURVIVORS: “Survivor: Amazon” winner Jenna Morasca's boyfriend, “Survivor: Africa” winner Ethan Zohn, is also a cancer survivor. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
Celebrities from the worlds of movies, TV, music and sports came together for the multi-network Stand Up to Cancer telethon and helped raise millions for cancer research. For most, the cause is personal — they’re either survivors or know someone who battled the disease, as we found out before the show. In case you missed it, you can watch (and donate) at www.su2c.org/2010show.
“I have no family history. I’ve stayed thin my whole life. I eat the right things. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. If I can have a colon polyp, you can too,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, who shared his colon cancer scare with his “Dr. Oz Show” viewers last week to shed light on that fact. The health-conscious cardiologist is also conscious about the planet. “I stopped buying bottled water,” he told us.
Ice skating legend Dorothy Hamill’s parents both had cancer, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. “I was really lucky to be the beneficiary of all the research and studies so my treatment wasn’t as radical as it could have been,” she said, gratefully, also stressing the importance of breast self-exams for early detection. Still on medication, she takes vitamins and makes sure to eat healthy food and rest. At home, Hamill recycles, uses eco-friendly detergents, turns off lights and unplugs unused electrics, and has cut down her paper towel usage.
Other cancer survivors in attendance included Marissa Jaret Winokur, a 10-year cervical cancer survivor, and “Survivor: Africa” winner Ethan Zohn, who is in remission following a stem cell transplant of his own harvested cells. “Cancer research is essential for the survival of people like me,” said Zohn, whose lymphoma resisted traditional treatment. “If it wasn’t for organizations like Stand Up to Cancer funding trials, I wouldn’t be here.” He didn’t rely on modern medicine exclusively, however. “I got very spiritual. I got into eating better, visualization, meditation, acupuncture, vitamins. Something worked and I’m not sure what, so I continue with all of it.”
Zohn and his girlfriend, “Survivor: Amazon” winner Jenna Morasca, eat organic food and live in a wind-powered building in New York City, where they recycle and use public transportation. He’s hosting a eco-conscious travel show for the Halogen channel called “Earthtripping,” has written two in a series of six planned children’s books called “Soccer World,” and is still running the Grassroots Soccer charity he founded with his “Survivor” winnings. The couple is also developing a reality show, “Ethan and Jenna: Surviving Life.” “We want it to be about our lives and going out and using our experiences to help others,” said Morasca.
A lot has changed in the 34 years since supermodel Cindy Crawford lost her brother to leukemia. “The type he died from is now 90 percent curable, but there are costs to that cure,” she said, citing sterility as one side effect. “The next step is more cures with no costs, and more ways to prevent cancer.” As for being green at home, “All the little things add up — taking recyclable bags to the market, unplugging your cellphone charger,” said Crawford, who has traded bottled water for a filtered pitcher. “These things are not hard to do.”
“I have cancer all through my family,” said Olivia Munn, who lost her grandfather to the disease, which her grandmother and aunts survived. “I’ve learned that I need to hear my body more and take better care of myself,” said the “Daily Show” regular, who’s nevertheless working hard on two jobs, having booked an NBC midseason sitcom called “Perfect Couples.” Since the shows are based on opposite coasts, Munn is living bi-coastal — but as green as possible. “I have metal containers in both of my dressing rooms so I don’t use water bottles. I got a filter for my house. It’s about being more conscious,” she said. “Once you acknowledge and start doing these things, it’s hard to go back.”
Having lost his father and a close friend to cancer, skateboarder Tony Hawk attended “to raise awareness and to show people that they’re not alone and there is hope.” On the green front, he’s driving a new Lexus hybrid, recycling and planting at home. “We grow our own fruit,” he said.
“Prevention is such a big part of it. Eating healthy is just another thing you can do to arm yourself,” said “Biggest Loser” host Alison Sweeney (pictured above with Randy Jackson, right, and Dr. Oz, center), who never met the grandmother she lost to cancer. Back for the NBC weight loss contest’s 10th season Sept. 21 with a premiere about cross-country contestant casting, Sweeney promised “some unexpected twists. We’ve definitely shaken things up a little bit. This season is about paying it forward and involving communities, getting a whole community involved.” Sweeney, who has solar panels on her home, told us that she recycles, turns off lights, and carries a reusable water bottle. “And I eat my leftovers. “They don’t go to waste in my refrigerator,” she added.
Attending in honor of her late friend and aunt, whose names she wrote on her T-shirt, Nia Vardalos (pictured below with David Boreanz) underlined the importance of self-screening and wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. “I’m always looking at my friends, [saying] ‘Get that mole checked,’” said Vardalos, who co-wrote the forthcoming “Larry Crowne” with Tom Hanks, is working on another script, “Happy Mother’s Day,” and hopes to guest on husband Ian Gomez’s “Cougar Town,” which returns to ABC Sept. 22. “I keep hanging around the set,” she said. She’s diligent about unplugging her cellphone charger and reports that her 5-year-old daughter reminds her if she mis-sorts the trash. “She goes to a very good hippie school and they teach the kids about it,” Vardalos said.
“You never know. Don’t wait. Get tested,” was the message musician Herbie Hancock wanted to share, having just found out on the way to perform with Neil Diamond on the program that the mouth biopsy he’d had was benign. He’s continuing to tour this fall with a return to Europe October to December in support of his “Imagine Project” CD, which features “a global collaboration” of artists including Dave Matthews, Pink, India.Arie, John Legend, Seal, Juanes and Chaka Khan. “I made sure the packaging was eco-friendly,” he said. “We do what we can to balance our carbon footprint in doing the tour and the record. We try to donate money to organizations that plant trees and balance it out.”
“Glades” star Matt Passmore, whose mother just finished breast cancer treatment, was shocked when she got sick. “She’s a very healthy person. Anyone can get it.” The Australian actor was looking forward to catching up on sleep, having just wrapped season one of his A&E series, which has its finale Oct. 3. (It’s just been renewed for a second season.) Admittedly less green than he could be, “I do a few things to ease my conscience. I always recycle and make sure I’m eating organically. A friend showed me ‘Food, Inc.’ It devastated me into compliance.”
Guitarist Orianthi performed her new single “Courage” on the telethon and will donate all proceeds from iTunes downloads to Stand Up to Cancer. Having lost her grandfather to cancer, Michael Jackson’s former six-stringer is a healthy eater, frequent exerciser and non-smoker. She lives in a green apartment building, takes her own bags to the market, and walks instead of driving whenever possible. “I think it’s important to do something every single day,” she said.
Donald Faison (pictured below), next on screen in the alien invasion movie “Skyline,” due in November, lost several friends to cancer. “When I turned 30 I started getting an annual checkup. I’m definitely more aware that it can affect anyone,” said the “Scrubs” alum, who drives a Prius and turns off the water when he’s brushing his teeth.
Tatyana Ali, currently working on a new TV comedy Martin Lawrence is producing, has become more diligent about self exams and eating healthfully since watching her best friend’s mother battle breast cancer. “I try to eat organic, eat less red meat,” said Ali, who takes home vegetables and herbs from her parents’ garden whenever she visits. “Nothing tastes better than what you grow in your own backyard,” she said.
Eva LaRue is also conscientious about healthy eating, “organics, meat that is free-range, that has no hormones or antibiotics. I try not to eat anything with an expiration date on it. Food was not meant to have a shelf life,” said the “CSI: Miami” star, whose mother had ovarian cancer. “I think you have to be your own personal health advocate. We all know when something is not quite right with us and yet we’re so busy and we put it off. Making time to get checked out can mean the difference between stage 1 and stage 4.”
“I have friends and family on both sides who are cancer survivors and who also didn’t make it. I’m here to honor them,” said “American Idol” alum David Archuleta, who was happy to report that a group of his fans banded together in a Stand Up to Cancer team challenge and raised over $66,000. “Cancer happens to all kinds of people. That’s why it’s important for everyone to get involved,” he said. “Even a little bit helps.”
Additional photos courtesy Getty Images.