A cancer diagnosis is devastating for any family, but for Eva Longoria's, the challenge was particularly intense: Breast cancer struck Eva's special needs sister, Liza, who she's described as "mentally challenged."
"It was just a yearly mammogram," Longoria recounted to AOL, explaining that after catching it in stage one, Liza quickly entered treatment and is now in remission. But it pains her to think of all the women who receive later-stage diagnoses: "Even though there's been so many great advances in technology and medicine, preventative care, early detection -- stage four patients get the least amount of funding. So we want to redirect people's attention to these women who are dying."
"We" refers to Longoria and global healthcare company Novartis, who teamed up for their #KissThis4MBC campaign to raise research funding and awareness for the metastatic breast cancer community. For every Boomerang or selfie with the hashtag, Novartis will donate $10 up to $200,000. And for Longoria, the personal connection extends even beyond her sister's battle.
"I remember speaking to a woman who had cancer, and she said she was in the hospital for seven months, so all she did was watch [Desperate Housewives]," Longoria said. "The whole thing, from season one to season eight. She was like, 'I would have chemo, radiation, I would have radiation, I would have my infusion,' and she just knew she could look forward to watching the show."
The conversation still sticks with Longoria: "That just made my heart burst with joy," she said. "If I could bring one ounce of joy to this woman's life, it makes everything worth it."
Another source of joy? Her husband, Jose Baston, who she wed in 2016. "We are in a honeymoon every day," Longoria said. "Everyone will tell you that. They look at us and they go, 'Oh my God, can you guys please stop?!'"
The two spend much of their free time with their large families, who are "identical. Our mothers are the same, our siblings are the same, he's very close with his family, I'm very close with mine. So we usually end up doing everything together," she said. "This summer we went to Spain with all of our families, and every reservation was like, 'Table for 47?'"