Marcia Cross, the 47-year-old flame-haired actor famous for playing
provocative, oh-so-perfect Bree on ABC's hit TV show Desperate
Housewives, as well as unstable seductress Dr. Kimberly Shaw on the 1990s
hit nighttime soap, Melrose Place, has added another role to her
repertoire: health advocate. Cross is now lending her talents to Stand Up To
Cancer (SU2C) as a celebrity ambassador to raise public awareness and generate
funds for ongoing research, with the goal of eradicating the disease
Cross has long been connected to the fight. Before joining SU2C in May of
this year, she was the face of Oil of Olay's "Skin Cancer Takes Friends"
campaign in 2007 and 2008, which urged people -- and their closest companions
-- to schedule regular skin cancer checkups. "Having had two family members
stricken by melanoma, I've become very passionate about helping to educate the
public about skin cancer prevention," the Emmy-nominated actress said when the
campaign launched. "Thanks to early detection, both my grandfather and cousin
survived the disease, but too many others aren't as fortunate. I urge everyone
to protect themselves and their loved ones by scheduling a free screening
together. Those few minutes could save lives."
The famous redhead is also a familiar sight at Revlon's annual Run/Walk for
Women each May, a huge draw for boldfaced names and noncelebrities alike.
Cross is not merely attaching her name to the cancer cause -- however worthy
it might be -- for good publicity; her motives are far more personal than that.
Her husband of three years, stockbroker Tom Mahoney, 50, was diagnosed with an
undisclosed cancer last fall. And her first partner, actor Richard Jordan, died
in 1993 of a brain tumor after five years of their being a committed
"Stand Up To Cancer is really 'Stand Up To Not Getting Cancer,'" Cross tells
WebMD Magazine passionately. "Cancer is so pervasive: I've had friends
and relatives with breast cancer, prostate, melanoma, you name it … and we're
all in reactive mode. We should be fighting it from a healthy position, before
we get that diagnosis. The chemicals we use, our household cleaners, the foods
we eat, our stress levels: Our bodies were not meant to absorb this level of
toxicity. We have to wake up!"
Too many people, Cross would agree, are still confronted with this disease.
More than 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and an
additional 11 million-plus Americans are classified as cancer survivors. As one
of Hollywood's most successful television actresses, Cross has a powerful
platform from which to speak -- specifically to promote cancer prevention and
"Celebrity ambassadors like Marcia are tapped for their degree of influence
to extend the reach of our message," says Kathleen Lobb, founding member of
SU2C, "which is to communicate to every American that they can do something to
end cancer, whether it's to donate one dollar or 1 million dollars to support
research, or to change personal behaviors and begin screenings for themselves
and their loved ones."
And while she is open to complementary and alternative treatments, Cross
says she isn't sure she "would pick one as my first line of defense." But she
thinks it's essential to consider "what's available to treat the whole body …
one system should complement the other."