Watch the video below and enjoy something that an exclusive audience of some 200 Hollywood and political heavyweights will see Thursday night: a video showcasing why Barbra Streisand has taken on the cause of heart disease in women.
The video is being shown during an intimate fund-raiser tonight at the spectacular Malibu home Streisand shares with her actor husband, James Brolin. (iVillage is lucky to be one of only a handful of media organizations in attendance!)
The expected total take after a night of “heart-healthy” vegan cuisine? More than $20 million dollars, including $10 million from the legendary singer herself herself, which will help fund women-centric research and treatment at the Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, newly named the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.
What gets under Streisand’s skin more than anything else, she made clear in the video, is inequality. “I can’t stand inequality of any form,” the 70-year-old star told The Hollywood Reporter earlier, “whether it’s about civil rights issues, women, gays — whatever. Gender inequality really gets me.”
So when she learned a few years ago that not only do more women die from heart disease than men, but that most of the research and treatment options for women are based on research performed on men, she decided to put her star power, wealth and personal magnetism behind heart disease.
Streisand reportedly worked the phones herself, first calling women on the Forbes’ list of female billionaires, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but no one ponied up. So she turned her attention to men, changing the pitch to focus on what could happen to their wives, friends, daughters and girlfriends, with more women dying of heart disease each year than all cancers combined.
The activist, who has raised millions for Democratic candidates in the past, won $1 million contributions from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone and designer Ralph Lauren among others, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The rest of the money is set to be raised Thursday night, with the highest-priced tickets going for $100,000, offering a couple access to a private meet and greet with Streisand and longtime Streisand pal, former President Clinton, who is making a special guest appearance at the event.
The video is just one of several treats during a star-studded evening, which will include a speech by Clinton, who has battled heart disease himself, performances by Josh Groban and Canadian composer David Foster and the wow of the night, a rare live performance by Streisand herself. (More on that in a post tomorrow!)
Streisand’s partner in this commitment to women’s heart health is Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, a prominent cardiologist and director of the Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai (pictured above with Streisand). Merz apparently treated a friend of Streisand’s, and that led to a friendship and partnership, where the women together hope to get women thinking about heart disease as much as they currently think about breast cancer.
To do that, they know they need to get the message out to everyday women (and men) around the country — not just the power brokers with deep pockets. So that’s where you can do your part. Share this story with your family and friends on Twitter and Facebook, and let’s make sure our loved ones, friends and followers realize just how much of a killer heart disease is for women and just how much we need specific research, treatments and clinical trials focusing on women — not men.
For more details about this extraordinary evening, check back in with iVillage.com on Friday!
Kelly Wallace, Chief Correspondent of iVillage, is covering the Streisand fund-raiser in Malibu. Check out Kelly’s tweets on Twitter @kellywallacetv.