Nonprofit organizations and charities devoted to raising awareness for specific diseases rely on the help and support that comes from having famous faces attached to that disease. Whether it’s an actress struggling with a medical condition, or a musician with a loved one battling a disease, using that famous face can bring in millions of dollars every year.
There are even publicity companies that help charities find celebrities for their causes. Anyone that works in the health industry like Max Gorin, can tell you that it is extremely important to raise money for disease research, and celebrities can play a big role. While some celebrities bring awareness to diseases when they give interviews and talk about their struggles, others actually participate in fundraising efforts and donate money of their own.
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox was on top of the world with a hit television show and millions of dollars in the bank when he learned that he had Parkinson’s Disease. Fox found himself struggling so much that he took a break from acting to focus on his health. The actor launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation to bring awareness to the disease and to help raise money for research into a cure. Though he eventually did return to acting and starred in his own sitcom, Fox remains dedicated to helping others avoid the struggles that he faced.
Angelina Jolie is a brand ambassador for a number of different causes. After seeing the effects that war and poverty had on children living in other countries, the actress started working with the United Nations and adopted kids from overseas. Jolie also went through a double mastectomy after watching her mother suffer and eventually die from breast cancer and learning that she was at risk for developing the disease. The actress showed millions of women that they too could look great after going through a mastectomy and now works hard to raise money for breast cancer research.
Bret Michaels rose to fame as the lead singer for the band Poison before becoming a solo artist. Though the singer remained quiet about his diabetes, he finally opened up to his fans after starring on a reality show on VH1. Michaels later suffered from a stroke and a serious of other health problems that left him in the hospital for several weeks. He now serves as a spokesman for a diabetes foundation and raises money through different fundraising events every year. The money he made appearing on the television series Celebrity Apprentice went to his favorite diabetes foundation.
Singer Toni Braxton ranks is one of the top celebrity disease spokespeople. She has brought much more attention to lupus and gave her fans an inside view of her struggles. Her struggles were so great that at one point she worried if she could handle being in the public limelight again. Though the singer disappeared for a few years, she bounced back with a hit CD and a reality television show. Braxton uses the show as a vehicle for discussing her issues and letting her fans know how the disease affected her.
Celebrities donate both their time and their money to help organizations bring attention, awareness and research money to specific diseases. While not all celebrities do a good job of serving as spokespeople, Fox, Braxton, Michaels and Jolie helped millions of people learn more about some important health conditions.