An anonymous donor has given a $1 million (£490,000) gift to a cancer foundation in honour of Erin Daniels and Leisha Hailey, two of the stars of the hit Showtime series, The L Word, for the realism and truth they brought to a breast cancer storyline that ended with the death of Erin Daniels’ character, Dana Fairbanks.
It is the largest private donation ever made to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.
“The donor, who has chosen to remain anonymous, wanted to honour the actresses for their compelling portrayal of a couple dealing with the tragic consequence of breast cancer,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director Naz Sykes.
“Ultimately, she decided the best way to do that was to give a generous donation that would help us advance the work we are doing to end breast cancer in our lifetime.”
The $1 million donation will be used to establish The Erin Daniels and Leisha Hailey Fund for Breast Cancer.
In addition to making this donation, the anonymous donor intends to match dollar for dollar every donation made to the fund.
The entire fund will be used to advance the Foundation’s research programme that aims to end breast cancer in our lifetime.
“There are very few times in a woman’s life where she feels she’s been lucky enough to be part of something that will change lives,” says Daniels.
“This is one of those times. I am overwhelmed that my portrayal of Dana’s story has inspired such an act of kindness and generosity, and elated to be a part of it.
“I am thankful that so many women will be given hope due to Dr. Love’s programme.”
“It is an honour that our breast cancer story line touched someone in such a tremendous way that she so generously gave to such a tragic illness,” says Hailey, who plays Alice, one of the shows most significant and best loved characters.
“I am awed by her gesture and it inspires me to act with my conscience and give of myself.”
Dr. Susan Love guest-starred on The L Word after Dana was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The anonymous donor, who had met Dr. Love in Boston in the mid-1980s, was thrilled to see her on the show. But what really intrigued her, she says, was the conversation Dr. Love had with Dana and Alice about her desire to find a way to eradicate breast cells that were just thinking about becoming cancer before they could do any harm.
When Erin Daniels’ character, Dana, was diagnosed with breast cancer she was a 32-year-old tennis star.
Her storyline allowed viewers to gain insight into the lives of the many “Danas” who, in real life, have heard the words “You have breast cancer.”
While many fans of “The L Word” were impressed that the show decided to tackle such a tough topic as breast cancer, some were angered by the storyline that resulted in Dana’s death.
On blogs and websites, many discussed their frustration that the show chose to have a character die from breast cancer rather than illustrate how many women survive-and thrive-after a breast cancer diagnosis.
Others grieved not only for Dana, but for Alice, who had lost her best-friend and former lover.