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Andrea Evans Gives Hope

Andrea Evans is one busy woman! In addition to her demanding role on "Passions" as Rebecca, this is Andrea's second year in a row as the Celebrity Ambassador for City of Hope's Walk for Hope to Cure Breast Cancer. She also recently embarked on a new venture-a column for "Healthy Cooking" magazine. (Look out for Andrea's first column in the November/December issue, due to hit stands at the end of October). In this intimate interview, Andrea opened up to us about her role as Celebrity Ambassador, why this cause is deeply personal to her, and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. This is your second year as the Celebrity Ambassador for City of Hope's Walk for Hope. How did it feel to be named the Ambassador for the second year in a row?
It's such an honor to be given this kind of position. It made me feel good because it shows we were successful last year. I really am thrilled, and hopefully I'll get to do it again next year.

What does this organization mean to you?
City of Hope is a really great organization. They are one of the leaders in breast cancer research and treatment throughout the world. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, so I wanted to get involved. And as a daytime star so many women have followed my career because our audience is primarily women. So, it's something that affects me greatly. One thing that's become very obvious to me after September 11 is a deeper appreciation for City of Hope. There were so many problems with donating money to blanket organizations. If you gave money, some of it went one place and some went somewhere else. You didn't know where your money was going. What I really like about representing City of Hope is that you can go there and you can see where your money is going. It's not a blanket organization that gives all over the place. They concentrate on their research and treatment there. And what they learn is shared with everybody else. It makes me feel much more secure about what I'm supporting.

How do you feel you've been able to help in your role as Ambassador?
I sincerely hope I've been able to help! That is my goal. As Ambassador, I talk about City of Hope all year round. There are two things that come up in any press I do-"Passions" and City of Hope. No matter where I go and what I do, it's become a part of me. Hopefully that helps raise awareness, which then helps women take care of their own health, as well as encourages people to give their money and their time. I know we've greatly increased the numbers at every walk. There were 8000 people at the Los Angeles walk this year, which far exceeded their expectations. Hopefully, I've helped contribute to that. When I talk to women who have been affected by this disease, it's very heartwarming to me. It really makes me feel like I'm giving back to something good.

Were you pleased with how the Los Angeles walk went?
I was very pleased with how the walk went. The turnout was fantastic. There were so many people. For people to give of their time when we all have such busy schedules, and get out and walk on a Sunday morning, is an amazing thing. And it's a whole lot of fun. So when people do show up, I think they really enjoy it. It's really great to see people make that effort and help those around them. It's a really nice experience.

Eva Tamargo Lemus (Pilar), Kathleen Noone (Mrs. Wallace) and Chrystee Pharris (Simone) joined in your efforts. What did that mean to you?
It is so thrilling for me to have them there. They come out to support the cause, and also to support me in my efforts. I am so grateful for that. Eva in particular-this was her third year. And I'm going to help her out by walking in the AIDS walk with her. That's what you do-you support each other. Chrystee and Kathleen both came out and walked too. And Denise Mark (Passions Associate Producer) was also there with her family. And "Passions" donated the Public Service Announcement that I shot, which was instrumental in getting people out to the walk. Everyone has been really supportive and great about this.

During the walk, did you get the chance to talk to different people who have been touched by breast cancer?
Absolutely--and now I've become so associated with this cause that women come up to me everywhere and tell me their stories! It's wonderful to hear. And it's very humbling to me. I just hope I can give some comfort or encouragement, and that I know the right thing to say. I'm thrilled that women come up to me and think of me in that manner. Knowing I have a relative who went through it really makes it easier for them to open up to me.

Besides walking along with everyone, what are your other responsibilities at these events?
I always have some sort of official duty for City of Hope-whether it's introducing other celebrities or thanking people for being there. Quite often I accept great big checks for City of Hope-that's my favorite thing! And part of my responsibilities are meeting with corporate sponsors and posing for pictures with them. I've gotten to know one corporate sponsor in particular. "Life Moments" was at the LA Walk filming Terry Wheatley, who is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sutter Home Winery. Sutter Home Winery is one of our major sponsors. Terry became involved because I believe her mother had breast cancer, she had breast cancer, and her very young daughter just had her second biopsy. Obviously this is a genetic disease in her family, but she's not just sitting back. She's gotten Sutter Home Winery to give a lot of money for this cause. When you buy a bottle of their White Zinfandel, there's a pink cork in it and a certain amount of money from that bottle goes directly to City of Hope. I've gotten to know Terry because last year she was at every single walk. She is an inspirational woman. It was great that "Life Moments" was out there filming her and her daughter.

October is now considered Breast Cancer Awareness month. Are you encouraged by the attention this cause is getting?
It's so important. One in eight women will get breast cancer. When you think about it, you're not going to find anybody who is not affected in some way by this disease. It really is an epidemic. To have a whole month dedicated to awareness is really a great thing.

Another endeavor you're embarking on is writing a column for "Healthy Cooking" Magazine. How did this opportunity come about?
They did an article on me about a year ago. I included a couple of recipes. I guess they got such good response that they just picked up the phone and called. I jumped at the chance. The column will include recipes, as well as how I came about them or how you can alter recipes and make them healthier.

Can you give a few tips that people can use to cook healthier?
For me, the biggest tip is that I try not to put anything that's not food in my mouth. I'm not a believer in protein bars or protein shakes. I don't use artificial sweeteners. I want to know what I'm eating-and I want it to be a food. That's just my own philosophy. To me, if you want to make your diet healthier, look on labels. Try to keep it natural.

Both the Walks for Hope and the "Healthy Cooking" column are centered on health issues. Is it important to you to get the word out on leading a healthy lifestyle?
It's very important to me. I've always believed in a healthy lifestyle. And through the City of Hope researchers, I'm finding out how many breast cancer cases are environmental. In my own case, there is no breast cancer in my mother's family-so that points to environmental causes. It really started me thinking more about good health. I'm a vegetarian and I try to eat organically. The more I research it, the more important I think it is. And another great love of my life has been eating and cooking. So I've had to learn how to eat healthfully-so that something that's good for my diet and figure is also good for my health.

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