HomeAmerican EntertainmentJohn Wayne’s Family Working To Fight Cancer, Educating Kids About Risks

John Wayne’s Family Working To Fight Cancer, Educating Kids About Risks

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

John Wayne’s dying wish was to use his image and likeness to help people find a cure for cancer. That’s exactly what his family is doing.

February is National Cancer Prevention Month, Outsiders. You know what that means, right? It means that John Wayne’s family is going to be working even harder than usual to educate everyone about cancer risks.

Research has shown that approximately 40 percent of all diagnosed cancers and nearly half of all the deaths from it could have been prevented. How you may ask? Well, it’s staying away from the stuff you always hear about — smoking, being overweight, lack of physical activity, excessive exposure to the sun, etc. Those are the types of lessons that the John Wayne Cancer Foundation is working to educate and support research into.

On behalf of the foundation, Anita La Cava Swift sat down with Fox 4 News to discuss how they are honoring The Duke’s memory. Swift is actually one of John Wayne’s granddaughters. She was first asked if she thinks that any of the movie star’s cancers were preventable.

“Who knows,” she said. “The lung cancer? For sure. Not sure about the other stomach cancer.”

You may recall that John Wayne was diagnosed with lung cancer back in 1964. He was able to beat that before being diagnosed with stomach cancer about 15 years later. That led to Wayne’s death on June 11, 1979. Ever since then, his family has made it their number one mission to use John Wayne’s name as a way to help others.

“My grandfather, when he was dying, asked his family to find a cure for cancer by using his image and likeness. So that’s what we’ve been doing.”

John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s ‘Block the Blaze’ Program

The John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s main prevention program is the “Block the Blaze” program. Swift says that they have educated more than 500,000 children about melanoma (skin cancer) through different summer programs and schools.

Check out their five “sun-safe” tips down below:

  1. Apply sunscreen
  2. Put on a hat
  3. Wear sunglasses
  4. Wear protective clothing (longsleeve shirt or jacket)
  5. Seek shade

She also discussed whether or not she is frustrated that we as a society have yet to find a cure for cancer.

“Well, we haven’t seen a cure but we have definitely that if you’re really good about getting your mammograms, getting your prostates checked every year men, and getting a body check for moles, you can catch the cancer early, early. That’s one of the things we’re really proud of.”

Need some more John Wayne content in your life? If so, we completely understand. We cover everything John Wayne and all John Wayne-related news right here on Outsider.