One of the things I love most about ‘celebrities’, besides the fact that they share their talent, is that they make us aware of wonderful organizations, charities,… Sara Ramirez, most known of her role as Dr. Callie Torres in the drama series Grey’s Anatomy, is a founding boardmember of ADRLF and hands-on contributor to the organization’s efforts.
Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation (ADRLF) is a non-profit organization founded in memory of Al D. Rodriguez. It is an organization originally founded by a group of 10 friends (Sara included), who wished to pay tribute to Al D. Rodriguez, a talented New York based actor who lost the battle against liver cancer in 2008. ADRLF is driven by the dedication of his friends and fellow actors.
Raised in a Cuban household in Washington Heights (New York) and a proud New Yorker, Al was known for his irresistible charm, undying love for musical theater,… A veteran of stage and screen, Al appeared in numerous productions over the past 2 decades. Rodriguez was also a web designer and video editor. As a web designer, Al created and ran the official website for his well-known friend, Sara Ramirez. Al was a talented actor, performer, producer, mentor and creator.
He was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer in June 2008. Only six weeks after the diagnosis, at the age of 45, Al lost his fight against this dreadful disease. Rodriguez had suffered from Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver. It is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person. There are 2 types: acute and chronic hepatitis. Acute hepatitis, is ‘present’ for a short time and normally you will get better. The chronic hepatitis is a long-term infection and over time it can cause severe damage to the liver, cirrhosis. Cirrhosis increases the risk of liver cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma = HCC). It is estimated that chronic Hepatitis B infections cause 80% of all primary liver cancer worldwide. Hepatitis B can easily be prevented by vaccination. The vaccine is a series of 3-4 shots.
The ADRLF wants people to get tested for Hepatitis B and C and vaccinated for HBV. The foundation has the mission to educate people about the existing relationship between chronic Hepatitis and HCC. It’s dedicated to promote awareness, screening, prevention (vaccination) and treatment of Hepatitis virus and liver cancer. Everyone should know that hepatitis can lead to the most common form of liver cancer. “We will demonstrate our commitment to Al by: fostering education through links on our website about timely and relevant articles; connecting people to health care resources that do not discriminate based on the inability to pay; strengthening our relationships with performing artists through staged readings and benefit fundraisers; support community health organizations that provide Hepatitis screenings; invest in grass roots clinics that provide free or low costs health care to their communities; and providing universal education about antiviral therapies for the Hepatitis virus.”
Sara Ramirez says she wanted to help establish a foundation because “as Al’s ‘brothers and sisters’, we felt the need to keep his memory alive.” She adds that his friends and acquaintances knew him to be incredibly selfless and wanted to find a way of celebrating his life while giving back to those in need through the foundation.
“The fact that we’re all respectful of each other’s relationships with Al gives us a deeper connection to one another, particularly because most of us were with him when he was diagnosed and when he passed away. We don’t want anyone else to go through the kind of unnecessary pain and suffering that Al went through. I was in New York on hiatus and spent every minute I could with him before I had to go back to work in Los Angeles. Then, six short weeks later, I took a red eye back to New York because the doctor told me he didn’t have much time. I was with him when he passed.” Sara is engaged in every part of the foundation’s process no matter what is going on with her career.
ADRLF holds successfull benefits, seminars and screenings for its growing community.
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Support Sara and donate to ADRLF, spread the word about ADRLF and get involved!
“We cannot take care of others if we are not taking care of ourselves.