In honor of World Ovarian Cancer Day, the 47-year-old actress posted a childhood photo of herself with her late mother, reflecting on her battle with breast and ovarian cancer.
Angelina Jolie is paying a heartfelt tribute to her late mom Marcheline Bertrand and urging women to do regular checkups for cancer. On May 8, in honor of World Ovarian Cancer Day, the 47-year-old actress shared a childhood photo of her and her mother, reflecting on her mother's battle with breast and ovarian cancer before she died in 2007 at the age of 56.
"Tomorrow would have been my mother’s 73rd birthday. She passed away 15 years ago, after a long struggle with breast and ovarian cancer," Jolie wrote. According to TODAY, she added the hashtags #WOCD2023 #worldovariancancerday to the caption and attached a link to the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition's "Get Involved Guide" on her Instagram bio.
"In June, I will be a month away from the age when she was diagnosed. I have had preventive surgeries to lessen chances, but I continue to have checkups," Jolie shared. The "Maleficent" actress mentioned that her mom loved Jimi Hendrix and that she would "always sign her letters Kiss the Sky, which took on new meaning after she passed." She concluded the post by expressing her understanding of people who have lost a loved one, along with a plea for women to get routine screenings for cancer.
“Sending my love to those who have also lost loved ones and strength to those who are fighting at this very moment for their lives and those they love," she added. "To other women, please take the time to look after yourself and go for your mammograms and blood tests or ultrasounds, particularly if you have a family history of cancer."
In an essay for Time Magazine, Jolie revealed the pain of watching her mother die of cancer in 2019. "I remember once holding my mother’s hand, as she was receiving chemotherapy, when she started to turn purple and I had to race to get the nurse,” she wrote. "Now there are new ways to identify which chemotherapy medication is best for each patient, resulting in fewer horrible side effects. Fewer. It’s often still so hard on the body.”
Jolie added that with a family history of cancer diagnoses leading to death, she hopes to live a healthy life. "I have lived over a decade now without a mom. She met only a few of her grandchildren and was often too sick to play with them," Jolie told Time Magazine. "It's hard now for me to consider anything in this life divinely guided when I think of how much their lives would have benefited from time with her and the protection of her love and grace. My mother fought the disease for a decade and made it into her 50s. My grandmother died in her 40s. I'm hoping my choices allow me to live a bit longer."
Angelina Jolie, you looked at cancer right in the eye and said let’s go. You made women all over the world aware of the tools available to them, thereby saving many lives. You’re are an inspiration and a legend. Rest in peace Marcheline, your girl is warrior slaying demons . https://t.co/vOnDTixU3T— Evelyn Akpos (@EveAkpos) May 8, 2023
According to PEOPLE, Jolie lost her aunt to breast and ovarian cancer in 2013, the same year she decided to get her double mastectomy and remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes. The decision came after Jolie received a genetic test showing that she carried a mutated BRCA1 gene, exposing her to the possibility of developing breast cancer.
"People also ask how I feel about the physical scars I carry," Jolie wrote. "I think our scars remind us of what we have overcome. They are part of what makes each of us unique. That diversity is one of the things that is most beautiful about human existence." She added that "the hardest scars to bear are often invisible, the scars in the mind."