Italia Ricci on why it's important to Stand Up to Cancer

Canadian actress Italia Ricci is joining stars like Celine Dion, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in a show of support for the upcoming Stand Up to Cancer Canada telecast, which is set to take over Canadian television outlets on Sept. 9th. As an ambassador for the cause, the 29-year-old works tirelessly to raise awareness about the disease and shine a light on the patients, doctors, scientists and caretakers who are leading the battle on the front lines.

TAP FOR GALLERY Italia is a Stand Up to Cancer ambassador.

The Richmond Hill native, who is engaged to fellow Canadian actor Robbie Amell, became a vocal advocate for cancer care and research after starring in the inspiring series Chasing Life. In the show, Italia played a young woman who tried desperately to maintain a sense of normalcy in her personal and professional life in the face of a cancer battle. In advance of Friday's broadcast, Hello! caught up with the Designated Survivor star to chat about her work with the organization and the people in her own life who inspire her to stand up to cancer.

Celine Dion will perform during the Stand Up to Cancer Canada telecast on Sept. 9.

Who inspires you to stand up to cancer? We all have a personal connection to cancer. It is a disease that touches so many of us no matter our age. It doesn't discriminate. I stand up for my Aunt Sandy, who's a breast cancer survivor, and little Sophie, who is currently fighting her brain tumor like a warrior, as well as other family and friends who are currently living with and fighting the disease. I also stand up for anyone who found themselves represented by my Chasing Life character.

Speaking of Chasing Life, it resonated with so many young people battling the disease. What is the biggest thing you learned through playing April? Cancer doesn’t own you. April didn’t let cancer stop her from living her life and pursuing her dreams and being able to become part of the community of fighters and researchers and survivors. I saw so clearly that cancer doesn’t define you, you still have a life to live to the fullest.

The Canadian actress played a young woman battling cancer in Chasing Life.

Why was it important for you to align yourself with this cause? I am honoured and proud to be an ambassador for Stand Up To Cancer and Stand Up To Cancer Canada, which raises awareness for the disease and much needed funds to support collaborative research teams across the US and Canada. It’s important to represent Canada since I’m Canadian, and I really hope that I can help raise a voice for everyone who needs it.

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