Bob Saget: How a family tragedy turned him into an activist
Lisa Respers France, CNN
(CNN) — Bob Saget channeled his grief into helping others and now some of his famous friends are doing the same in the wake of his death.
The comedian who became known as America’s dad after playing Danny Tanner on “Full House” died Sunday at the age of 65.
But it was the death of his beloved sister Gay following a battle with the autoimmune disease scleroderma which transformed him into an avid advocate for raising money to find a cure.
The star actually first became involved with the Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF) prior to his sister’s diagnosis with the chronic disease, which can lead to a hardening and tightening of connective tissue and skin.
Saget told NIH Medline Plus Magazine in 2019 that years before he “got a call from someone I did not know asking me to host a comedy fundraiser for a disease I knew very little about.”
“I said yes and hosted the event, which starred Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, and others.” he said. “Little did I know that just a few years later, my sister would be diagnosed with the disease.”
Saget shared that his sister was 44 and a Philadelphia-area teacher when she was first diagnosed. Drugs including prednisone and cortisone were used to treat her, he said, but it only addressed her symptoms.
“She had to move to Los Angeles to live with my parents because she needed so much help,” Saget said. “She passed away just two years later.”
The “America’s Funniest Videos” host went on to serve on the SRF board for nearly two decades and hosted their events for more than 25 years.
Following the announcement of his death, fellow comic Amy Schumer posted on her verified Instagram account that she would be donating to SRF in Saget’s honor and the organization posted a tribute to their most famous advocate.
“In loving memory of Bob Saget, a cherished colleague, friend, and Scleroderma Research Foundation Board member for over 20 years,” the caption to a photo of Saget posted on the SFR Instagram account read. “Bob was a relentless champion for scleroderma patients and the mission of the SRF—finding a cure for scleroderma. He will be dearly missed.”