Familiar Faces Living with Lymphedema


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Thanks to celebrities and grassroots support networks, lymphedema is just beginning to take center stage in medical circles.  In light of Global Lymphedema Awareness Month, we’re shining the spotlight on some influential figures who have shared their lymphedema journeys.

This March marks the sixth anniversary of Global Lymphedema Awareness Month. To celebrate, we’re putting the spotlight on some of the public figures who have shared their trials and tribulations and brought awareness to this underrepresented condition. Unbeknownst to many, late Swedish starlet Ingrid Bergman suffered greatly with lymphedema complications following her breast cancer treatment in 1974, for which she would later succumb.  While very little was known about lymphedema forty years ago, we’ve still got a way to go in bringing about necessary change, awareness, hope, and healing to the many individuals who struggle with the lymphatic disorder.  Since Bergman’s death, more celebrities and public personalities have courageously raised the curtain on this disconcerting disease.

A Host for Hope and Healing

Outspoken, daytime talk show host, businesswoman, and writer, Wendy Williams of the wildly popular syndicated Wendy Williams Show, featured an exclusive segment dedicated to Lymphedema Awareness Month on her recent March 13th episode.  Williams spoke out about her diagnosis and disorder in 2019 after unsavory paparazzi pictures highlighted her sporting a pair of swollen ankles, eliciting concern and speculation over the television host’s health.  Williams is refreshingly transparent about her daily struggles with the disorder, including its debilitating symptoms and the social stigma attached to a disease that can be physically disfiguring.  The unabashed daytime star and former New York DJ often posts her lymphedema home treatments and helps demystify her condition. Williams continues to be an attention-grabbing voice for those living with lymphedema and prominent proponent for research, accessibility to affordable treatment, and medical insurance coverage for patients seeking surgical intervention.

“It’s not going to kill me.” – Wendy Williams, host of The Wendy Williams Show

An Actress Takes on the Role of a Lifetime

Familiar face and spunky celeb we’ve all come to love, award-winning actress Kathy Bates is also a self-professed lymphedema sufferer and the official global ambassador for Lymphedema Global Awareness Month.  When not on set shooting her latest, must-see flick, the multi-talented star and two-time cancer survivor can be found raising awareness for The Lymphatic Education and Research Network for which she is also spokesperson.  After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003 and breast cancer in 2012, which resulted in a double mastectomy, Bates developed painful lymphedema due to the excessive removal of lymph nodes during cancer treatment.  Her public disclosure on the daily health challenges that plague her body continue to be a source of solace for those who often suffer in silence.  Her staunch, global activism is her most rewarding role yet as she leads the charge by testifying for improved, life-saving lymphedema treatments, affordable healthcare coverage that covers the cost of expensive lymphedema treatment surgeries, more rigorous research, and accessibility to innovative equipment and pain mitigation procedures.  We couldn’t be prouder of her latest performance or more confident she’ll be adding yet another accolade to her already colossal collection.

You can catch Wendy’s one-on-one interview with Kathy Bates from last August by visiting wendyshow.com or lajollaveincare.com.  The two lymphedema patients and crusaders for change shed light on the physical effects of the condition, including Bates’ on-going advocacy efforts and congressional testimony.

Get Involved

You need not be a star to make an award-worthy impact on the global lymphedema stage. To find out how you can make a difference for those living with lymphedema, be sure to visit lymphedemaadvocacygroup.org, lymphiestrong.com, and wendyshow.com.

To learn more, please contact our Beverly Hills, California office to schedule a consultation with any of our highly trained specialists.