Celebrity health advocates often do a good job of spreading the news about a specific medical condition. When you see a YouTube video featuring Zak Efron and Vanessa Hudgens for Stand Up To Cancer, the cause gets noticed. Think about Jerry Lewis and what he has done for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the conditions that the MDA covers.
Dick Van Dyke was recently named the spokesperson of the Cell Therapy Foundation which promotes stem cell therapy for diseases such as heart disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and cancer. Kellie Martin, who you may remember from Life Goes On, ER or Mystery Woman is a spokesperson for the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA).
Celebrities bring awareness to unknown diseases. They help to raise money for research. They also inform people about symptoms, how to get diagnosed and available treatments. It can be difficult, though, to find a celebrity advocate for a medical condition that they actually have, especially if they are working. Many celebrities want to hide any kind of illness they have. It can hurt their career because they can be seen as someone who may not be able to show up when needed.
As they say, the show must go on. If a celebrity can’t work because of being sick, being hospitalized, or having a flare up, they can shut down taping of a show. There are also insurance issues to be concerned about. If a celebrity is known to have some type of medical problem, the insurance for the project they are working on (TV show, movie, CD, video) can be increased. Let’s not forget the rumor mill and the embarrassing stories that will be reported. For example, there was recently a sighting of celebrity buying incontinence supplies and it was fodder for celebrity gossip.