CANCER BENEFIT BRINGS ‘CSI’ STAR BACK HOME
By Kim Roberts
September 5, 2003
On CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, star Marg Helgenberger uses science to track down the bad guys.
This weekend, the Nebraska native will trade technology for golf clubs in the fight against a different sort of villain: breast cancer.
Helgenberger and her husband, actor Alan Rosenberg, return to the Midlands to host Marg & Alan’s Celebrity Weekend, an annual benefit for Jennie Edmundson Hospital’s Breast Health and Cancer Centers.
The event, which runs today through Sunday, includes a two-day celebrity golf tournament at Dodge Riverside Golf Club and a cancer-survivor celebration at Harrah’s Casino.
The couple also will give a benefit performance of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters at the Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” Helgenberger said by cell phone from the Los Angeles area. I think we have a lot of impact on people’s lives, breast cancer survivors in particular.”
It is a cause that is close to her heart.
Helgenberger’s mother, Kay Snyder, is a breast cancer survivor. Snyder, who lives in Omaha, was diagnosed with the disease in 1980. She is healthy now, but Helgenberger remains dedicated to raising funds and awareness of the illness.
Last fall, the Lifetime network chose Helgenberger as the subject of an Intimate Portrait episode, based on her contributions to breast cancer awareness. More recently she talked about the disease with Golf for Women, which featured her on the cover of its September/October magazine.
Helgenberger enjoys golf and says the charity golf tournament is a fun way to accomplish her goal.
“It’s fun just goofing around,” said the actress, who says she doesn’t often get the chance to play. “It’s a game that’s always fun to play, no matter how much you play.”
She brings a troop of celebrities with her to this weekend’s benefit, including Dennis Haysbert (24), Richard Kind (Spin City), John Beasley (Everwood), Jim Turner (Arli$$), and sports greats Dominique Wilkins, Russ Francis, and Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones.
Comedian Tom Parks will perform at the ‘Survivor Celebration’ Saturday night, along with actor/musician Chris Mulkey and his band, the Blue Veins, featuring Fleetwood Mac guitarist Billy Burnette.
The goal is to raise between $25,000 and $30,000, which will be used to treat needy breast cancer patients at Jennie Edmundson.
The Council Bluffs hospital says it appreciates the efforts of Helgenberger and Rosenberg, who stars in CBS’ The Guardian.
“They truly pour not only their heart and soul but also their time into making this event successful,” said Tara Slevin, direction of volunteer services at Jennie Edmundson.
Whether the tournament will continue in the future depends on Helgenberger’s busy schedule and how people respond this year.
The tournament usually falls during the filming of CSI, CBS’s top-rated drama. This year, she also is preparing for the Emmy Awards at the end of the month, for which she is both a nominee and a presenter.
“It does get complicated,” she said. But, “I think it’s pretty gratifying. I hope we’ll be able to do it again.”