While it’s true that all celebrities deserve privacy and respect from the public, it’s also true that being famous comes with a unique platform — a platform that allows celebs to speak up and actually be heard by huge groups of people.
Not all celebs choose to use this platform — and that’s totally cool — but others use theirs to bring awareness to serious health issues that might not necessarily get the press they deserve. Whether it’s Lyme disease, endometriosis, lupus or mental health issues, by sharing their issues, celebrities are helping to make thousands of people feel less alone. Raising awareness can also prompt people to talk to their doctors about nagging pains they hadn’t considered as possible symptoms or generate interest and funding for further medical research.
Whatever their reason for stepping forward, we’re grateful. These are the stars bravely bringing awareness to illnesses from which they suffer to help others.
A version of this article was originally published in April 2016.