Supporters of the Breast Cancer Foundation were out in force Saturday as they attended the organization’s glitzy annual fundraising gala at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
Guest speaker for the night was actress Shannen Doherty, who shared her story of dealing with and surviving breast cancer.
Ms. Doherty, known for her roles in such popular TV series as “Little House on the Prairie,” “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Charmed,” found herself under a different kind of spotlight when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.
Rather than shrink from it, she decided to share her sometimes painful journey with the world via social media. She now has more than one million followers on Instagram.
She spoke to the Cayman Compass last week about how much comfort others have been through her struggle, and her plans for the future.
At first, she admitted, it was difficult to be in the public eye while getting to grips with the news herself. “There was a lot of fear … the fear of ‘how will it impact my career?’ … but then you start embracing it, when you realize how many people you’re helping by just sharing your own experience and that you’re really showing that cancer doesn’t discriminate.
“Now, I feel so much closer to strangers, interestingly enough, who are no longer strangers as I read their stories that they share with me on my Instagram. It actually helped me get through cancer, just knowing their stories,” she revealed.
Ms. Doherty appeared on several daytime chat shows in the U.S. in September where she talked about being in remission and current acting projects. She plays the part of Laura Collins in the Lifetime movie “No One Would Tell,” which is the first headliner role she has had since going through cancer. The film is based on a true story of the mother of an abused teenager.
She admitted that she is very happy to be back acting and although it is nice to mix up the characters she plays through movies, TV is her first love.
“TV series, all day long!” she laughed. “I am a TV series girl – I love a regular job, especially at this point in my life. I love stability.
“TV has got so daring and so interesting … When you have, in my opinion, one of the greatest actresses of all time, Nicole Kidman, doing TV, you know you’re OK in TV.”
Speaking from the stage of the gala on Saturday, Ms. Doherty, who is in remission, commended the Cayman Islands Breast Cancer Foundation and the attendees at the gala.
She said the foundation offers support groups, financial assistance, lymphatic massages and a host of other kinds of help for breast cancer sufferers, adding that it is currently assisting 144 people, including two men with the disease.
Several much sought-after items were up for grabs Saturday night to raise funds for the charity, including a remodeled Jeep Wrangler donated by Tony’s Toys and a photograph of a baby seal taken by award-winning photographer Ellen Cuylaerts. Two trips to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway went for $25,000 each.
Another item that proved very popular was a dinner for 10 with Cayman’s new governor, when he or she arrives on island. However, one bidder had a different idea and suggested to the event’s MC and auctioneer Vicki Wheaton that he would prefer to bid for a dinner with Franz Manderson, who is currently Cayman’s acting governor. Ultimately, a total of $44,000 was raised after two bidders bid $22,000 each to share a dinner with Mr. Manderson.