Nov 24, 2009

Fighting Cancer in Every Zip Code...

Television's most famous zip code is fighting for a cure. Ford Motor Co. arranged a tie-in with the CW's 90210 to promote its Warriors in Pink breast cancer awareness program.

The series began a plot line featuring fan favorite Jackie Taylor, the dysfunctional mother of Silver and her half-sister Kelly Taylor, succumbing to the disease. The impact of losing the Taylor matriarch will resonate with long time fans (like myself). Played by Ann Gillespie, Jackie Taylor has been a major character in both the original series, Beverly Hills 90210, and the new generation, 90210. The elder Taylor has battled drug and alcohol addictions and is referenced as an absentee mother in both series.

"It was such a shock," Jessica Stroup (Silver) said, referencing the day she found out about the plot twist. "I understood that it was an important story-line, but at the same time, to have the show lose a character like her - someone who's been a part of this show from the very beginning - it was devastating."

Jessica and her TV sister Jennie Garth (original cast member Kelly Taylor) have joined forces with Ford's Warriors in Pink program. During the last 15 years, the program has  raised or donated more than $100 million to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation.

In the past, Warriors in Pink has been more about speaking to older women. By pairing with 90210, the program is reaching out to a different demographic. The message now speaks to how people who have not necessarily had the disease, but have been affected by it, can make a difference.

Various aspects of the Warriors in Pink program will be highlighted throughout the remainder of the season. After her mother succumbs to the disease, Silver is inspired to get involved with Ford's Warriors in Pink program. On the Dec. 8th episode, Silver is rumored to be wearing a T-shirt from the organization. She is also rumored to be looking for sponsors as she prepares to run a 5k Race for the Cure for breast-cancer research, which she will run in her mother's honour.

Seeing a mainstream show like 90210 support such a worthy charity is inspiring. Despite the obvious plug for Ford cars (Put a Hybrid in your Zip Code contest), the partnership will make young viewers more aware of the heartache and hurt that follow a breast cancer diagnosis and related death. The endorsement of the program by Stroup and Garth (online and print advertisements) will only continue to raise awareness (and hopefully garner donations) of the cause.

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