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16 Celebrities Using Their Spotlight to Raise Awareness

This weekend Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips, Celebrity Fit Club, and Celebrity Wife Swap fame announced on Twitter that she is battling Bell’s palsy. With that one tweet she not only let the world in on her personal challenge but she also helped raise awareness for a condition that not many of her followers (myself included) had ever heard of. According to Web MD, Bell’s palsy is a type of paralysis (or weakness) of the muscles in the face thought to be due to inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve also known as the facial nerve.

When a public figure opens up about private health issues they do an incredible service of raising awareness. Many celebrities reveal intimate health battles to let their fans know that their appearance may alter or that they may be taking a break from work. Some step into the spotlight for the simple altruistic reason of helping others.

Once upon a time it was considered taboo for stars to talk about their personal lives, much less their personal health. Celebrities were incredibly tight lipped and private about what ailed them for fear of being blacklisted for work. The AARP credits John Wayne with being the trailblazer in Hollywood public relations for going public with his battle with lung cancer in 1964.

Since then stars and celebrities have used their spotlight to raise awareness for health problems. By doing so they have saved countless lives in numerous ways by encouraging early testing to rallying for donations for cutting edge research.

Have you been inspired to action by a celebrity’s health battle?

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  • Celebrity Health Awareness 1 of 17
    Celebrity Health Awareness
    Find out how your favorite celebrities are turning private health problems into disease awareness.
  • Carnie Wilson 2 of 17
    Carnie Wilson

    Carnie Wilson is sharing news and updates on her condition on Twitter and raising awareness. 

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Christina Applegate 3 of 17
    Christina Applegate

    Christina Applegate created the Right Action for Women Foundation to provide aid to individuals who are at increased risk for breast cancer and do not have insurance or the financial flexibility to cover the high costs associated with breast screenings.

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Elisabeth Hasselbeck 4 of 17
    Elisabeth Hasselbeck

    Elisabeth Hasselbeck wrote The G-Free Diet: A Gluten Survival Guide after going public with her Celiac disease.

    Image Credit PCN

  • Giuliana Rancic 5 of 17
    Giuliana Rancic

    Giuliana Rancic is serious about breast cancer awareness saying, "if my story can inspire them to go get checked and to take breast cancer seriously and to know it can happen to a young girl without a family history—if it can happen to me, it can happen to you—then that's my responsibility, I have to do it."

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Halle Berry 6 of 17
    Halle Berry

    In addition to being a volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Association Halle Berry often attends events to raise funds for diabetes research.

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Howie Mandel 7 of 17
    Howie Mandel

    Howie Mandel is a a big proponent of mental health awareness. He says he doesn't think there's anyone alive who doesn't have issues.

    Image Credit: PCN

  • John Wayne 8 of 17
    John Wayne

    The John Wayne Cancer Foundation funds novel and innovative programs that improve cancer patient outcomes and save lives including research, education, awareness and support.

    Image Credit: London Sun

  • Khloe Kardashian 9 of 17
    Khloe Kardashian

    In an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians Khloe Kardashian raises awareness for women dealing with infertility by visiting a fertility clinic.

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Michael Douglas 10 of 17
    Michael Douglas

    Michael Douglas starred in a PSA urging Americans to undergo screenings for oral cancer. 

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Michael J Fox 11 of 17
    Michael J Fox

    Michael J Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson's today

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Michael Jordan 12 of 17
    Michael Jordan

    The Magic Johnson Foundation focuses on HIV/AIDS education, testing and awareness, minority college access and digital literacy through our Community Empowerment Centers.

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Montel Williams 13 of 17
    Montel Williams

    Montel Williams MS Foundation is dedicated to furthering the scientific study of multiple sclerosis.

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Nick Cannon 14 of 17
    Nick Cannon

    Nick Cannon hosted last year's New York City Kidney Walk.

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Robin Roberts 15 of 17
    Robin Roberts

    Since the announcement last June of Robin Roberts's condition over 40,000 people have joined Be The Match, exceeding the group's typical monthly average by more than 50%.

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Patrick Swayze 16 of 17
    Patrick Swayze

    Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund has been established at the Stanford Cancer Center to fund research that leads to more effective treatments for pancreas cancer patients.

    Image Credit: PCN

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar 17 of 17
    Sarah Michelle Gellar

    Sarah Michelle Gellar often talks about how pilates helps her with her scoliosis. 

    Image Credit: PCN

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