Before stepping into the Bravo spotlight this summer, Ubah Hassan is rallying for a cause she believes in.
The Real Housewives of New York City star was honored on Wednesday, June 14, at Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research's Annual Midsummer Angel Gala for her activism and devotion to finding a cure for the life threatening disease.
Ahead of her big speech at the star studded event — attended by her fellow cast members Erin Lichy, Sai De Silva, Jenna Lyons, Jessel Taank, Brynn Whitfield, and RHONJ star Danielle Cabral — Hassan chats exclusively with OK! about the personal reason why the foundation is so close to her heart, her passion for finding a cure and her excitement for her reality show debut.
"They have been relentless," the model explains of the work of President and cofounder Denise Rich and the foundation. "They know how to bring people together to have fun, but yet not forget that the fight is not over. We cannot just close our eyes. We cannot sleep [on the cause]."
For Hassan, the movement hits close to home after loosing her beloved mother to Leukemia. "She had a really bad form of leukemia. It was one that if you get it, the doctor is praying that you pass away," she heartbreakingly says.
"Out of 100 people that get it — 99 die immediately," Hassan notes. "Whoever survived, the doctor said they would be in so much pain. My mom got diagnosed on a Saturday and the doctor told us she had 48 hours [to live]. We didn't believe it, but she passed away the following Tuesday."
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"We're putting people on the moon, but I'm like, 'Can we please stop that and figure out how to cure cancer?'" the fashionista said of the potential medical advancement.
Besides her philanthropic work, Hassan is gearing up for the premiere of the new season of RHONY this coming July, which features a whole new group of women living, laughing and loving in the Empire State.
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"My girlfriends are all here tonight," she gushed over her fellow cast members who showed up to support — which means the world to her. "Some of them are mothers, they have kids, they all have these crazy schedules. I'm so excited!"