Drew Carey's million dollar promise, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's next play, Patrick Swayze and more.
Drew Carey, host of The Price Is Right, will donate $1 million to the Lance Armstrong Foundation if he acquires one million Twitter followers by midnight January 1. It all started when Carey, aka @DrewFromTV, bid $25,000 for the @drew Twitter username being auctioned off by cancer survivor and blogger Drew Olanoff, known for his #blamedrewscancer Twitter campaign, to benefit the LAF. Carey eventually raised the bid to $1 million, but said he will prorate the donation and give $1 per follower if he doesn’t reach his goal by New Year’s Eve. Those who want to help Carey reach his goal can sign up for a Twitter account at www.twitter.com and “follow” @DrewFromTV.
Retired basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 62, announced in early November that he has chronic myeloid leukemia. The former Los Angeles Lakers player was diagnosed last December, but decided to go public after realizing the influence he could have on other CML patients. Abdul-Jabbar has launched an educational campaign, sponsored by Novartis Oncology, which includes the “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – CML Patient and Advocate” page on Facebook (www.facebook.com).
Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze’s memoir, The Time of My Life, co-written with his wife, Lisa Niemi, spent three consecutive weeks on The New York Times best-sellers list after hitting bookshelves in late September. In the book, Swayze wrote that he first viewed his pancreatic cancer diagnosis as a “cruel joke,” but goes on to say, “I began thinking to myself, I’ve had more lifetimes than any 10 people put together, and it’s been an amazing ride.” Swayze died September 14 after a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Two-time Emmy winner Kathryn Joosten, 69, who plays neighbor Mrs. McCluskey on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” underwent surgery in early October for a lung cancer recurrence. According to Joosten’s spokesperson, the cancer was well-contained and won’t require further treatment. First diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001, Joosten regularly speaks about beating lung cancer and strives to remove the stigma associated with the disease.
Award-winning composer and producer Andrew Lloyd Webber, 61, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in late October. The surgery was successful, however Webber, who’s known for the musicals “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera,” was readmitted to the hospital about three weeks later for a post-operative chronic infection. Through a statement on his website, Webber says he is doing well and hopes to be back in action by January 2010.
After revealing in October that he has been battling the disease for nine years, Dennis Hopper began experimental treatment on his prostate cancer early November. The 73-year-old actor is receiving treatment from the University of Southern California and says he is doing well.
“American Idol” judge Simon Cowell donated about $160,000 to help save the life of 18-month-old Sophie Atay, who was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma earlier this year. Atay’s mother, Karine, had been trying to raise over $800,000 to pay for an experimental treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York. The treatment, which is unavailable in the family’s native Britain, could boost Sophie’s chances of survival from 20 percent to 90 percent. When Cowell heard about the efforts in early November, he decided to cover the remaining amount necessary for Sophie to fly to the United States and receive the treatment.