Race for the Cure is personal for Gerri Willis
Gerri Willis shares about her recent cancer scare along with her previous breast cancer diagnosis.
NCIS actor LL Cool J, the rapper who's hosting the Kennedy Center Honors on CBS this Sunday, and his wife Simone Smith are turning her battle with cancer into a mission to pay it forward.
Continue Reading Below
Now 15 years cancer-free, Smith, and her husband (real name: James Todd Smith) have partnered with the American Cancer Society to donate a portion of proceeds from her namesake jewelry line back to the non-profit, part of the “Beat Cancer Like A Boss” campaign.
LL Cool J became the first rapper to earn America's top performing-arts award in 2017. The two-time Grammy award winner, who's led an illustrious 34-year career that began on the streets of New York, met Smith as a teen in 1987. On their journey from Hollis to Hollywood, they became the parents of four children and weathered her battle with cancer
One of Smith's business partners is multiplatinum, award-winning R&B artist Mary J. Blige, with whom she shares a collection called Sister Love. In December, the two women returned home to host a holiday pop-up at a New York hotel joined by survivors and representatives from ACS.
“Every season is a season for giving,” Smith told FOX Business after the sold-out event. Smith says she hopes the Christmas season inspires others to give.
GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE
“With the help of ACS and a few friends, this campaign was created to empower women to lean onto their support system and tap into their strength to ‘Beat Cancer Like a Boss,’ a message I carried with me throughout my journey to recovery.”
A woman of deep faith and spirituality, Smith's crusade began soon after she was diagnosed in 2004 with Stage Three Chondrosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that has a five-year survival rate of just 33 percent, according to Cancer.org. A 15-hour surgery was required to replace a bone in her right leg, followed by a long rehabilitation.
“I was in utter disbelief when I received my Stage Three diagnosis, but what I quickly learned with the support of my husband and family, was that cancer was not something that I had to let consume my inner being or personality,” Simone said in a statement released through ACS.
Since her diagnosis, she's raised a reported $250,000 for the organization.
'FORTNITE,' SUSAN G. KOMEN TEAM UP TO FIGHT BREAST CANCER