DALLAS — It’s not every day an A-list celebrity opens up about something so personal.
“Aside from my high heels bothering me, which is just a fact of life, I feel really good,” said Rita Wilson, 59.
The wife of Tom Hanks since the 1980s, Wilson is talking about breast cancer, which is something she's deeply familiar with.
“Initially, I was misdiagnosed and a girlfriend of mine, who had been a two-time breast cancer survivor, said, ‘Have you thought about getting a second opinion on your pathology?’” Wilson recalled.
The actress and singer, who was religious about getting annual mammograms, had a second pathologist assess her breast tissue, and then a third.
“I had a gut feeling that something didn't feel right," she said.
In April 2015, Wilson announced she had undergone a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Thursday, she shared her story with a room of 1,500 North Texans at the Baylor Health Care System Foundation luncheon, Celebrating Women.
“If today there's one person out there who says I'm going to get a second opinion or I'm scheduling a mammogram tomorrow, or I'm going to help a friend do that, then to me that's something," Wilson said.
Consumed with gratitude for her health and family, Wilson stresses the importance of getting mammograms starting at age 40, listening to your body and infusing your life with happiness – with or without cancer.
“You can find joy, love, intimacy, care, laughter and good times even while you're going through this,” said Wilson. “Eventually, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and you begin to see it.”
The luncheon raised more than $1 million toward the fight against breast cancer. Funds will go toward mobile mammogram systems, clinical research, counseling, advanced digital screening technology, staff education and patient care.