For someone whose laugh was so infectious every week on Will & Grace, it is amazing to realize that Shelley Morrison has battled breast cancer thrice over. She is a survivor in every sense, and in her spare time, she is getting the word out there and attending as many charity events as possible. She tells OK!, “Now, I’ve got it down to two a month because I’m going to be 71.”
Growing up in the Bronx during the World War II, Shelley was introduced to philanthropy at an early age. “My mother would pick me up from school, and we would go to the Red Cross headquarters and put on these little white gloves and fold bandages for the soldiers overseas,” this do-gooder says. “They introduced me at a very young age to volunteerism and that empowered me.”
Ever since then, she was a woman with a mission. With the support of her husband of 34 years, Walter Dominguez, and friends, Shelley was able to get through her own battles. “That kind of support, we need each other and we need to talk and we need to express our feelings,” she explains. “It wasn’t until this year that I got ticked off ‘cuz I missed my boobs!” One of her biggest supporters was co-star Megan Mullally. “She is an angel,” the former maid to Megan’s character mentions. “She took very good care of me and made sure I wasn’t tired or if my tubes were leaking she would rush me to my dressing room and help me pat it down.”
One of Shelley’s causes near and dear to her is Bosom Buddies. Started by her oncologist, it is an organization that helps women who are going through this to ease their fears. “I don’t wake up in the morning and think that I’m a cancer survivor; I wake up in the morning and I say, ‘Okay, I’m going to ease into the day,” this comedian says. Since her first bout with breast cancer, a lot of gains have been made in terms of locating the areas without doing massive surgeries.
“Every day there are breakthroughs,” Shelley adds. “But when you stop and think that we spend two billion dollars a week on the war in Iraq and cancer kills over 500,000 people a year (this is all cancers), and they have been begging the government for five billion dollars which would be two and a half weeks of the war in Iraq for cutting-edge research.” While this is a great point, Shelley continues, “The Susan G. Komen Foundation, all the foundations, are trying to get insurance to cover mammograms for women who are younger to catch it in the early stages.”
Another charity that Shelley invests her time in is Anamali that is the only animal adoption and shelter in Leon, Mexico. “A friend of ours runs it, and we try to raise funds to help him by doing virtual adoptions,” this animal lover says. “I also work with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.”
We may only see ‘Rosario’ on reruns of Will & Grace, but Shelley is out there more than ever. She proves age is just a number that giving never ceases.
By: Alisandra Puliti