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A Must See

Valisia LeKae Launches Adventures of Lillian Kate Web Series

Grammy- and Tony-nominated Valisia LeKae has gone from starring as “Diana Ross” in Motown: The Musical, when it opened at Lunt-Fonanne Theatre in April 2013 to manifesting herself as Lillian Kate in her new web series, “The Adventures of Lillian Kate,” which launchValisa LeKaeed Aug. 14.

Remarkably, LeKae bowed out of the one-in-a-lifetime Broadway role after six months to undergo surgery to remove a cyst, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and completed six rounds of chemotherapy while being a spokesperson for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. After celebrating her one-year anniversary of being cancer free in April, LeKae began promoting a crowdfunding campaign for her web series. Filming for the six-episode series took place in July and editing wrapped on Aug. 20.

The actor and singer serves as writer, director and producer of the series, which is described as a sensationalized “true story” following her journey from Motown to Mount Sinai Hospital.

As the Straight Outta Compton film about 80s rap group N.W.A. hit theaters, Memphis, TN native LeKae posted a “Straight Outta Mount Sinai” meme and released the fun music video “Forgot About Kate” from the fictitious The Chronic Illness album. Inspired by the Dr. Dre-produced Grammy-winning “Forgot About Dre” from the album 2001 featuring Eminem, the parody tune speaks to the challenge a cancer survivor has in remaining healthy and emotionally stable.

While battling Stage1A cancer, 34-year-old LeKae used her voice to raise awareness about ovarian cancer – the fourth leading cause of death in American women – and early detection.

With 1 in 3 women in the United States diagnosed with cancer, LeKae had no genetic traces of ovarian or breast cancer – a cancer that is more common in White women and women 63 years or older.

She opened up about her health via her Facebook page on Dec. 17, 2013, when she posted: “I feel that it is important that I share my story in order to educate and encourage others about this disease and the fight against it… God has given me another role to play and like all my previous roles, I plan to go all in. Only this time I plan to Win!”

Going “all in” included donating her once-worn wardrobe items to raise money for ovarian cancer research as part of Teal Tuesday, running multiple marathons, and developing her writing. LeKae – whose Broadway career includes The Book of Mormon, Ragtime, 110 in the Shade and The Threepenny Opera – had to learn patience and surrender to no longer being in control of her life. Yet, she remained in control of how she would live her life. LeKae continues to be a passionate advocate for women to know their bodies.

Watch Episode 1 “So They Called Me,” also starring Asmeret Ghebremichael and Natasha Y. Williams. Subscribe to her YouTube Channel, The Adventures of Lillian Kate, to catch the rest of the season.

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