For the month of October, breast cancer awareness will take center stage, the cause's ubiquitous pink ribbon signaling a call to action to help curb the estimated 230,000 new diagnoses each year. For actress Gabrielle Union, breast cancer awareness is more than just a month-long pursuit; it is a promise she made to close friend Kristen Martinez who was diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease at the age of 31 and passed away five years later.
"'Fear can literally kill you. It killed me.' These were the words my close friend Kristen Martinez said to me two years ago, just days before she died of cancer," Union wrote in a blog post on The Huffington Post earlier this year. "Today, her memory is the driving force behind my commitment to increase awareness about breast cancer, especially among young women and women of color," she went on to say.
In her efforts to carry her promise to Kristen on, Union recently sat for a video produced by Planned Parenthood, and talks about what she's doing personally to decrease her own risk of the disease.