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Fran Drescher is about to embark on a huge cocktail dance cruise on June 21 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Hornblower Hybrid at Pier 40,
353 West Street in Manhattan, just in time
for NYC Pride Week. It’s a Sunday Funday!

Drescher hopes to raise funds as well as awareness with respect to her “Cancer Schmancer” movement. The cruise will be filled with sunshine, food, drink, the ocean breeze and many celebrities such as Rosie O’Donnell and Cyndi Lauper.

The celebrated, world-renowned star, comedian, actress, writer, producer, ordained minister, health advocate and gay icon, hopes to make people aware of how to protect themselves from the harsh consequences of our environment relating to health and wellness. Even if you cannot make the cruise, please read her interview as it may save your life, not to mention the fact that she is wonderfully caring, funny, warm and brilliant.

On June 21, just in time to kick off Pride in NYC, you will be doing a cruise around New York. Let’s talk about that.
OK. The cruise around New York is a fundraiser for “Cancer Schmancer.” We’re very excited about it, and I also think that it’s historic. A group, a demographic, that up to this point—and rightfully so—has been very focused on themselves and their acceptance and tolerance. That’s a huge platform of mine.

Yes, I know.
I do think, and I’ve been saying this for a while now, when I do speak to the LGBT and GLAAD and all the different groups that are kind of dancing around the same obvious issue, that the time comes where you can strengthen yourselves in society by becoming more active on other issues. That’s why I think that this is historic, because as a community the more you unify in terms of support on something else, the more that other groups, those that are more tolerant, those that maybe aren’t as tolerant, opt to be more accepting because it serves them well. Do you see what I’m saying?

Yes.
If the Jews always talked about how they have been ostracized for millennia, after a while no one else is going to care that much. Once you get deeply rooted in other issues, suddenly they start yielding to the political power they feel. Now, for me, it’s a natural link, because obviously I’m a gay icon and spend a great deal of time supporting the community, and I’ve got the gay ex-husband, but it started before he came out. It’s just so perfect. That’s how things just worked out. I’m a cancer survivor, and I’ve officiated some gay weddings, and I’ve been fighting for same-sex marriage for years. And now, with same sex-marriage being legal, I’ve actually officiated a few, and families are emerging. I buy more wedding cards for same-sex couples and more baby gifts for same-sex couples.

Right!
So it’s really sweet and wonderful, but now I think that it’s a great thing to celebrate those families through my organization Cancer Schmancer, and our effort to create family health and prevention for all families, and kick off Pride Week by bringing focus to same-sex couples and their families, and the need for us all—because we’re all in the same boat—to start living their lives with prevention in mind, and with their purchasing power through good old-fashioned all-American consumerism to dictate manufacturing. So nobody’s waiting until three generations when Congress decides we’re going to be regulating more seriously. Let’s start now and show that this group is interested in focusing on that cause. No family in America should buy things that are going to be harmful to our family, to our children, to our babies. Most cancers and other diseases that are plaguing us, like asthma and arthritis and many immune problems, are directly linked to our environment. The home, it turns out, is the most toxic place that we spend the most time in and ironically we have the most control over. So why not start there and make that the place where we begin through the Cancer Schmancer movement. Detox your home.

Well, you know what? Gay people get sick too.
Exactly. I’ve been talking to gay women. They’re not as ready to go to gynecologists to get their breasts checked. That has to stop. You’re not doing anyone a favor. You’re hurting yourself, and you can’t be an ostrich in this life. You have to be proactive. One of the things that we teach our followers with Cancer Schmancer is “take control of your body.” Transfer from being a patient into a medical consumer. We put more time and energy into the car we buy and repair and sell than our own body.

Actually, that’s true. You’re right.
It can be a beautiful world, and we’re at the early part of the 21st Century. Historically great things happen at the beginning of a century. So when you think about where we were 100 years ago, in 1915, we were gathering around and trying, as women, to get the right to vote. Now we have to use that vote wisely and know that there comes a time when you have to branch out, so you have to say, “I was born, and now I have to start making some rules to make life as meaningful as possible for me and my family, me and my friends, for me and my loved ones,” and there is nothing more important than your health. Without good health you have nothing.

Correct.
So that’s what we need to focus on, and that’s why I think that having the Cancer Schmancer kick-off to New York Pride, on the longest day of the summer…how poetic is that.

That’s just perfect.
It happens to be my 15-year anniversary of wellness and Father’s Day, and families are invited. We encourage you to bring your family, because it will be such a pretty day. We have fun music, from a world-famous DJ, and I want everyone to feel like they are on a vacation for the cruise around Manhattan. It’s going to be a beautiful, sunny day. It’s from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Let’s play like calypso music and really have fun.

So is it going to be like a dance party?
I think you can dance, but I’m imagining it being more like being on a vacation cruise. You will be looking out on the deck, looking at the beautiful island of Manhattan from the water, the sunshine, the breeze, the wonderful music, food, beverages. We are going to have picture taking, selfies as another fundraiser option. You can take selfies with the stars if you pay a little bit extra. We’ve got some wonderful celebrities already that have agreed to be a part of this. So that will be a lot of fun. So there’s music, food, drink, sunshine. You’re on a boat with your family, your lover. Whatever it is, it’s a historic sail in my view.

I agree. I don’t know that anyone’s done anything that unique. Everyone is going to have a blast! Then afterwards you are offering an intimate dinner.
Yes, that’s another fundraising addition to the cruise. If you want to buy the more expensive ticket—it’s $1,000 a seat—you go on the cruise, and then you go to a wonderful, private dinner with me and whatever celebrity wants to come…but definitely me. It will be a small group, like a private dinner, at a wonderful restaurant that’s owned by my dear friend Dr. Brian Saltzman.  He’s a leader in infectious disease, AIDS, pioneering in the early days with it. There will also be gift bags donated by the Paris candle company Dyptique.

That sounds spectacular. Can you mention some of the celebrities that will be on the cruise?
Well, Rosie and Cyndi Lauper.

Wow.
Patti LuPone, Cynthia Nixon, Jill Zarin and Patti Stanger from “Millionaire Matchmaker,” and anyone can take selfies with us if they pay. It’s $20 a person extra.

And so well worth it.
$20 gets you a selfie with us all. You walk from one person to the next.

That’s fun! How many people will the boat hold?
I think it’s like 350.
I think you better do two cruises.
Yes, I know. Well, this is our maiden voyage, and if it works out and it’s sold out and everybody loves it, we’d like to make it an annual kickoff for Pride.

So this cruise is perfect for our readers. They love you.
I’ll tell you, I’m glad that “The Nanny” is still on TV, because it gives me opportunities to have a presence in the areas that I’m passionate about. So in this point in my life I actually work to keep my brand potent so I can continue to do things like this.

I have a question. Do the new husband and the ex-husband get along?
Yes, absolutely. You know, I finally met a man that had so much personal accomplishments.

I know. Didn’t he create email?
Exactly. He’s in the Smithsonian. He’s got copyright for that. Now he’s working on some very revolutionary stuff that’s going to impact medicine and nutrition, and it’s very exciting. He’s always coming up with things – like email.

That is so amazing to me. Almost hard to comprehend.
To find somebody that has his level of accomplishments and intellect, that’s what I needed, because what comes with me is a lot. Not every man is going to be secure enough to deal with it—to deal with the large life, to deal with the red carpet. You gotta have a strong ego. He does!

I loved the story of how you met, and I loved that you were married to a gay man, because I was engaged to one on purpose.
A lot of us were. When we were doing “Happily Divorced,” we got so many letters from people saying, “My spouse came out!” That’s the thing that hasn’t really been explored on television before. Then the idea of being happily divorced came to be a catchphrase. You loved the person enough to think marriage was the answer, but maybe marriage wasn’t the answer. Maybe just being friends was the answer. You don’t throw away a lifetime of love and friendship because the marriage doesn’t work. You don’t want to feel like you have to cross the street because you don’t want to look at a person that you invested so many years in. You’ve got to reinvent it.

So you are a comedian, an actress, a producer, director, ordained minister. Is there something that you haven’t done yet that you still wish to do?
I have a script that I’d like to direct as a feature. I have directed, but not a movie, and I’d like to do that. I’d love to live in Europe for a year and just get very proficient in a second language and really submerge into another culture. I’d love to learn how to drive a stick shift. I’m from Flushing. I didn’t grow up learning to drive a stick shift.

If you ever come to Long Island, like to visit Fire Island, I’ll teach you how to drive a stick.
You know, I’d love to go to Fire Island. I’ve never been there either.

Are there any new projects for you on the horizon?
My husband and I were going to take a safari for our one-year wedding anniversary, and when I come back I have a big women’s health summit in LA on October 13, which is going to be another big deal, completely different from the fun day cruise. We have been producing this kid’s assembly program, and hopefully by the end of summer, beginning of school, we can start putting it into middle schools and high schools across America and in Canada and Mexico as a launching start. For the first time in U.S. history young kids today are predicted to not live as long as their parents, and we wish not to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy. We want to engage and empower young people now to start thinking differently about what they put in their mouths, on their skin and in their home, and engage their parents to share in a new lifestyle and different choices.

Is there anything else you’d like to say or close with?
Bad things happen to good people, and what we do with it and how we go through it and what becomes of us as a result is what makes all the difference.

Book your tickets for the cruise now at francruise.com.

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Eileen Shapiro
Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

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