Singer Natalie Cole to Spotlight Hepatitis C Campaign at National Press Club

GRAMMY winner Natalie Cole, who was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C in 2008, will meet with leading patient advocates in Washington, D.C., and discuss the Tune In to Hep C national public health initiative, sponsored by Merck and the American Liver Foundation, at a National Press Club Speakers Luncheon, Wednesday, October 19.

“There is a stigma around chronic hepatitis C because it’s associated with IV drug use.  But it doesn’t matter how you got the virus, it matters what you do about it,” Natalie Cole said.  “That’s why I’ve joined the Tune In to Hep C campaign to share my story and motivate people to take the next step by speaking to their doctor. Doing nothing is not an option.”

Ms. Cole, who realized she’d been living with the virus for more than 25 years after being diagnosed during a routine examination, will call to elevate the public discussion around chronic hepatitis C and encourage others to take action.  Hepatitis C is a liver disease often referred to as the “silent disease” because it can be in the body for decades without apparent symptoms.  An estimated 3.2 million Americans have hepatitis C though many are unaware they have it.

Ms. Cole has earned nine GRAMMY awards. The daughter of legendary singer Nat King Cole, her debut album Inseparable (1975) earned a No. 1 single, This Will Be (An Everlasting Love), and two GRAMMY awards for Best New Artist, as well as Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.  Her 1991 album Unforgettable…With Love included a duet with her late father and earned six GRAMMY awards. Cole’s latest album, Still Unforgettable, (2008) garnered two more GRAMMY awards.  Cole documented her life story in her autobiography, Angel on My Shoulder (2000).

Pictured: Natalie Cole attends Total Management’s Fashion Week Party with Jade Jagger and Gilt City to Bring Awareness to Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation at Private Residence on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation)