Those who are immunocompromised still struggle with the realities that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on. “The Big Lebowski” actor Jeff Bridges, who also faces higher risk, is adamant on raising awareness of the issue after he went through a near-death experience himself.
The 72-year-old star was being treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and undergoing chemotherapy after a 12-inch mass was found in his body, per Fox News.
“The chemo wipes out your immune system and when COVID hit me, I had nothing to fight it,” Bridges told E! News. “I was just really at death’s door a couple of times there.”
He is now in remission.
“I remember the doctors saying to me, ‘Jeff, you gotta fight,’” he said. “I had no idea what they were talking about. I thought, ‘Man, I’m in surrender mode here.’ With a great medical team, great trainers and my family, everybody brought me back.”
This experience shifted his focus to his family — three daughters and three grandkids — and to raising awareness for those who are immunocompromised.
The actor collaborated with AstraZeneca to launch the Up The Antibodies campaign that demonstrates that the fight against COVID-19 isn’t over.
When doctors told Bridges that he may have been exposed to COVID-19, they advised him to get an EVUSHELD injection which contains monoclonal antibodies.
“I followed his instruction and got my shots and off I went to promote my film and turns out I didn’t get COVID. Then I came back to Montana and my wife, turns out she had COVID, and I didn’t get it,” he said in another campaign video. “So I figured, wow, this stuff, you know, this looks like this works. And to be a part of the campaign to turn other people on to this, I thought was a good thing to do.”
“If you’re immunocompromised talk to your doctor about taking this long acting monoclonal antibody,” he said. “Find out if you’re a candidate for that kind of treatment, so you can go out and live your life, do the kinds of things that you love to do without being so concerned about getting COVID because it’s still around.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, actor Kumail Nanjiani and writer-producer Emily V. Gordon are also involved in efforts by Up The Antibodies.