Celebrity Cruises announced that it is marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month in a unique and meaningful way: Richard D. Fain, Chairman of Celebrity Cruises and Chairman & CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), and Celebrity’s President & CEO Michael Bayley today revealed plans to honor four employees – two who work aboard its ships, and two in its corporate offices – as Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection, the fifth in its five-ship Solstice Class series.
Like the Godmothers of every prior Solstice Class ship – all with remarkable life achievements, including overcoming breast cancer – the cause is of great personal interest to the selected employees. The Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection are:
Jovanka Goronjic joined Celebrity Cruises’ AquaSpa staff in 2009, after previously working with Celebrity’s sister brand, Royal Caribbean International. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and endured several rounds of treatment.
In tribute to her mother and the cause, Goronjic donated her hair for the creation of wigs for cancer patients. With support from Celebrity, she arranged time off to be with her mother at critical times during her treatment. Her mother has since defeated the illness, and Goronjic now is AquaSpa Manager on Celebrity Constellation.
Megan Mathie is a glassblowing artist in the Hot Glass Show aboard Celebrity Solstice. Earlier this year, she was informed that both her sister and mother were diagnosed with breast cancer, and flew home to spend time with them. However, both convinced her to return to the ship to continue her work.
Determined to support the cause, Mathie and her team now host a “Hot Pink Glass Show” on every cruise. There, she shares her story with her audience and through her art, in honor of her sister and mother. At each cruise’s end, she auctions a one-of-a-kind pink glass creation to raise funds for Celebrity’s charitable partner, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Helen O’Connell is an eight-year employee of the company, managing community relations, and has a clear and contagious passion for serving her community. She is widely lauded internally and externally for leading the corporation’s annual “G.I.V.E. (Get Involved, Volunteer Everywhere) Day,” and events leading to it in South Florida and in many of the company’s offices and ports of call around the world.
O’Connell also serves as the corporation’s primary liaison with Make-A-Wish Foundation and supports Celebrity’s fundraising activities for BCRF. Before being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, she traveled to New York every weekend for three months to help care for her father, who was battling bone cancer. O’Connell is known for always putting others’ needs ahead of her own, such as volunteering with numerous organizations in South Florida and caring for her sick aunt in Ireland, while also making her work a top priority.
Rosey Rodriguez is a 17-year employee of RCCL, Rosey is manager of the company’s special events team and recognized at Celebrity for being a key contributor to planning and implementing the events surrounding every Solstice class ship launch. She is a devoted single mother of two children, Joey, 21, and Alexis, 15.
On June 8 of this year, Rodriguez was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer, and has since been resolute in her commitment to beat it. While many women would legitimately take short-term disability at this stage, Rodriguez instead takes her laptop to treatments to allow her to work remotely. Her colleagues say this is entirely in character, as she puts everyone and everything – including her work – ahead of her own desires. She is considered a dedicated leader of her team, admired employee of the company, loving mother and selfless individual.
“The breast cancer cause is one we’ve adopted across the Celebrity brand, and one with deep meaning for each of these women and their four predecessors,” said Fain. “These ladies are not only inspiring in their professional lives, but in their personal lives, as well, with each of them devoted to their own and our company’s interest in doing all we can to find a cure for breast cancer.”
“These impressive women personify the qualities we admire among our Solstice Class Godmothers: remarkable strength and courage, along with optimism, warmth and genuine care for others,” said Bayley. “They beautifully represent countless other women within our company and around the world who have battled the disease or supported the cause in honor of friends or family who have done so.”
Celebrity Cruises’ support of the cause began in 2008 with an event on Celebrity Solstice to raise funds for breast cancer screenings for low-income women. Next, the brand sponsored the first “Celebrity Sunwalk” in association with Walk the Walk, a breast cancer charity founded by the Godmother of Celebrity Equinox, Nina Barough. And last year, Celebrity became an official corporate partner of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), offering Celebrity’s guests the opportunity to make a difference while enjoying their vacation through a unique lineup of onboard experiences that help raise awareness and funds for BCRF.
The four Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection will preside over the naming of the ship in Miami on December 1, and consistent with Celebrity’s Solstice Class tradition, will be joined by the Godmothers of each of Celebrity Reflection’s sister ships.