Andrea Evans: Caregiver

Emmy-nominated actress Andrea Evans discusses her experience caring for her mom during a battle with breast cancer and her work as a celebrity ambassador to find a cure for the disease.

STACEY GUALANDI: Emmy-nominated actress Andrea Evans is daytime TV’s most devilish diva, Rebecca Hotchkiss Crane, on the long-running drama Passions.

REBECCA HOTCHKISS CRANE: He’s so cold, when he makes a certain vice-presidency all warm and fuzzy.

STACEY GUALANDI: Behind the scenes, we got to see firsthand why fans have followed her for years. Her role as a conniving schemer never fails to entertain.

REBECCA HOTCHKISS CRANE: Thank you ladies.

STACEY GUALANDI: When she’s not on the set of Passions, Andrea has another role, as tireless supporter for breast cancer research. Here at the City of Hope’s Walk for Hope event, she is serving her seventh year as celebrity ambassador. It’s a cause near and dear to her heart.

ANDREA EVANS: My mother is an 18-year breast cancer survivor so I know exactly what it takes to survive this disease because I saw her go through it and I have since seen many relatives and friends. I have a very good friend right now who is struggling and going through chemo and, you know, that’s why I’m here.

ANDREA EVANS: You know, this is my seventh year as celebrity ambassador for the walk. By the way, this is my daughter Kiley. “Say hi.”

KILEY: Hi.

STACEY GUALANDI: When her mother, Audrey, was diagnosed with breast cancer 18 years ago, Andrea decided she had to help find a cure. The 11th annual Walk for Hope is doing just that, bringing survivors and supporters together to raise awareness and needed funds for cancer research.

STACEY GUALANDI: This is amazing.

ANDREA EVANS: Yeah, this is. It’s always so wonderful, the support we get here and it’s wonderful to see people out on a morning giving their time to other people. It’s just a wonderful thing to see.

STACEY GUALANDI: Now Andrea, with her three-year-old daughter Kiley on board walks every year. She joins thousands of others across the country to support City of Hope, a leading cancer research and treatment hospital in Los Angeles. Andrea says they treat both the body and the spirit.

ANDREA EVANS: One in eight women is going to get this disease at this point, so if there’s anything we can do to prevent it, to get women to check themselves so they can get better diagnosis if it does come, you know, it is so worth my time to get here and do this and to go on as many walks as I can.

STACEY GUALANDI: She’s your role model.

ANDREA EVANS: She is my role model and every step I take honors her, so I’m happy to do it.

STACEY GUALANDI: There was no history of cancer in Andrea’s family history so the news came as a complete shock. Long before she became an advocate for research, Andrea became her mother’s caregiver.

ANDREA EVANS: I was just petrified. I think I was more petrified than she was. And it was the first time that there was the role reversal, where I became the parent and she became the child.

STACEY GUALANDI: What was that role of caregiver like for you?

ANDREA EVANS: You know, caregivers are never given enough credit. It’s really difficult and it’s so difficult to see someone you love going through something like that. But at the same time, there are extreme positives – the closeness, the relationship you develop through that and again the… seeing life through a different perspective is always a gift. It’s a blessing.

STACEY GUALANDI: But Andrea says stress is often the most difficult aspect of dealing with this disease.

ANDREA EVANS: I remember at the time when my mom was going through it, I was so worried that she would see my anxiety, so I tried so hard to cover up my anxiety and my fears so she didn’t see it. I think her seeing me try to cover it up made it worse. I think if I had just allowed my feelings out more, that would have been better.

STACEY GUALANDI: Now, 18 years later, Audrey a self-described tough old broad, relishes every time she sees her daughter cross the finish line.

AUDREY EVANS: It’s just wonderful and I’m so proud of my daughter that she is so intent on helping. It’s really great. It’s very touching.

STACEY GUALANDI: Andrea says her mother’s spirit and will to survive is inspiring others.

ANDREA EVANS: When we were in Chicago doing the walk, a woman came up to me in tears telling me that my mother was a huge inspiration to her and it was just, you know, it’s just a wonderful thing to do.

ANDREA EVANS: And on this day cancer survivors can’t help but thank all of the supportive walkers. Sandy Boulware was recently diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

SANDY BOULWARE: It really was a tough time in the beginning, but now when you start going through treatment and you’re surrounded by such quality people here at City of Hope – it is hope, that’s, you know, you get to start becoming a survivor instead of a victim.

STACEY GUALANDI: The City of Hope has raised over 20 million dollars thus far, with all of it going directly to research. Andrea says she’ll be committed to as many walks as it takes to find a cure.

ANDREA EVANS: I hope there’s no need for it in 2025. I hope there’s no need for it in 2008. I would love to be able to retire my celebrity ambassadorship because there’s no need for it.

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