When she was only 5, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer
In EW’s column Act With Me, stars share their personal stories about giving back. This week, Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei speaks about the American Cancer Society, which funds and conducts cancer research, as well as providing support and assistance for cancer patients and their families.
WHY I TOOK ACTION
Cancer touched Kordei at a young age. When she was only 5, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It was really, really tough seeing her go through that,” Kordei recalls. Though her mom is a healthy survivor now, the 21-year-old feels a responsibility to use her pop-star platform. “It’s my opportunity and my duty,” she says.
WHAT THE FOUNDATION DOES
The American Cancer Society has a wide-ranging array of services, including funding and spearheading groundbreaking research, offering support for patients and their families, and sharing the stories of survivors. They also have several facilities for cancer patients, one of which Kordei visited in Salt Lake City with her mother. “I’ve had my own experience, but just to talk to people, other patients who are going through the same thing that my mom went through and help them cope in different ways [is special],” she says. “It didn’t feel like a hospital. They really created such a special place for the patients — it feels like home.”
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
“[The ACS] lets patients know they’re not alone,” says Kordei, who likes to visit with patients to brighten their days and discuss her personal experiences with cancer. And although the hospital visits are difficult, they deeply touch her: “I know how big of a deal it is for me to be in their world, but I want them to recognize that they also impact me greatly.”
Her mom did not receive services from ACS while she was ill, but Kordei says she wishes her family had known more of the comfort ACS provides. “There are people within this organization that care about them and their happiness, not just their well-being but also their happiness and making them feel the most comfortable throughout their process,” she says. Kordei’s current involvement as an ambassador includes hospital visits. She hopes to continue to expand her efforts and participate in Relay for Life events, 24-hour walk fundraisers that take place across the country.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Donate, volunteer with the organization, or participate in a Relay for Life fundraiser in your community. If there isn’t one nearby, start a committee with the help of the ACS and organize one to raise funds in the fight against cancer in your neighborhood.