I am honored and excited to serve as a spokeswoman for the Foundation for Women’s Cancer, as well as to have participated and build my very own team – Camille’s Crusaders – for the 2014 National Race to End Women’s Cancer. I am especially proud that my team garnered support from my friends, family and even fans throughout the U.S. as we worked together to raise awareness for the Foundation’s education and research programs.
Moreover, I was fortunate to experience National Race Weekend, where I met other survivors and their families and had the opportunity to speak at a Foundation event and at the Race itself – what an amazing day! This is much more than a race, it’s a movement.
So this is my story: I am the third generation of women in my family to be struck with a below the belt cancer. My grandmother had endometrial cancer; my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 47 and continues to fight her battle today; and I am a one-year survivor of endometrial cancer.
Per our doctors suggestion, I was tested for Lynch Syndrome and tested positive, resulting in me being checked every year – sometimes twice each year — and was lucky to have caught my cancer early. My treatment still included surgery, chemo and radiation – under the expert care of Dr. Pedro Ramirez at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston — and while I lay in my chemo bed, I said over and over to Dr. Ramirez, my nurses and other caregivers – “We have to get the word out about these cancers! No one is talking about them and that needs to change!”
As National Race MC, Mrs. Maryland Zereana Jess-Huff puts it so well, “We need to get people to think outside the bra – because we have other lady parts and we need to talk about them! I want my own daughter and all our daughters to grow up in a world where we have defeated these below the belt cancers.”
I have been in the public eye as a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills for several years. But what most of my fans don’t know is that I have been a longtime advocate for gynecologic cancer awareness, due to my family’s health history. I am committed to taking this role public in a bigger way, and I consider this one of the most important roles of my life.
I love the Foundation’s new “Love Your Lady Parts” campaign, and the heart hands symbol that goes with it. This is our symbol – it represents our hearts for this movement – to love ourselves and love our lady parts – even those who may have lost some of those parts.
Because we are survivors. We are still women and we want ALL women to love their lady parts, learn the symptoms, listen to their bodies and seek care from a gynecologic oncologist for the best outcomes.
That is the Foundation’s key message, and I am proud to share it, and to help raise awareness and research funding to save more women’s lives. Because movements matter.