Grey's Anatomy's Sara Ramirez Stands Up — and Sings — for Liver Cancer
Callie Torres won't be belting a tune anytime soon on Grey's Anatomy — unless "one day we may have a musical episode," says Sara Ramirez — but folks in New York can catch the actress singing live Monday from the Broadway Takes the Runway benefit.
Ramirez will perform on behalf of The Al D. Rodriguez Foundation, an organization she launched to raise awareness for hepatitis and liver cancer. It is named after a late friend of the Grey's star.
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"A couple of years ago, my best friend Al D. Rodriguez was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer out of the blue," Ramirez tells TVGuide.com. "Unfortunately, the liver is an organ that you can't really know something is very wrong until it's too late. That's what's frightening about his story."
Rodriguez contracted hepatitis in high school through food, and it went untreated until he was 45 years old. By then, it turned into liver cancer. "When he got diagnosed, we were all really shocked and in denial," she says.
Ramirez gets choked up recalling that they thought he had three months, but "he ended up only living six weeks." The day after Rodriguez passed, Ramirez and his friends gathered to clean out his apartment and decided to start a foundation. "When you're just entering the grief mode, I guess your first impulse is to stay busy."
"More than anything, one of our goals is to provide people with free screening and vaccinations for hepatitis," she says. "That can really stop the thing right there in its tracks."
The organization's second benefit, which takes place at Touch in New York City on Monday night, will be hosted by Carson Kressley (Queer Eye), and will feature performances by Ramirez, who won a Tony for Spamalot in 2005, and fellow Tony winner and Private Practice star Audra McDonald. Tickets to the event can be purchased online here.
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"It's going to be a really heartfelt night, and it's going to be another celebration of Al," she says. "Hopefully, it will reach out to people, letting them know there is a resource out there for folks who have hepatitis, or have been diagnosed with liver cancer."
If you can't make it Monday and still want to see Ramirez sing, the actress reveals there's a deleted scene on the Grey's Season 6 DVD in which she sings to the appendicitis patient in the finale to calm her down during the shooting.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.