Australian actor Sam Worthington has opened up about his mother’s fight with ovarian cancer, saying his family found strength from her positive attitude towards the illness.
The usually private 37-year-old Avatar star spoke of his mother Jeanne’s experience in an interview with GQ magazine, in the hope he can help raise awareness about early detection of the disease.
“In Australia, one woman dies from ovarian cancer every 10 hours,” Worthington said.
“Mum’s cancer battle struck at the heart of life and death for me. She said, `I’m not going to let this disease control how I live’.
“I might not have agreed with the way mum chose to handle her treatment at the time, but she taught me that the best way to help her was to stop being all `woe is me’.
“So we did, and everyone in our family got stronger by staying positive together.”
Worthington has joined other male celebrities, including fellow Australian actors David Wenham and Don Hany, in supporting the White Shirt campaign.
The campaign culminates in White Shirt Day on May 1, with all gross proceeds from the sale of Witchery white shirts donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF).
Worthington, who is dating Lara Bingle, said even though his mother has recovered the experience still affects him significantly.
“When I was young my parents were these titanic, infallible figures,” he said.
“But mum’s illness, and dad’s battles with diabetes and heart attacks had a ripple effect on me, reminding me of my own mortality and that these illnesses are genetic.
“Self-awareness and early detection are key [to finding ovarian cancer].”
Each year in Australia almost 1300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, according to government agency Cancer Australia.