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Sofia Vergara opens up about her latest role, creates awareness for hypothyroidism

Sofia Vergara represent's Abbvie's Follow the Script campaign
Sofia Vergara is working with the "Follow the Script" campaign

Colombian actress Sofia Vergara partnered with global biopharmaceutical company AbbVie to raise awareness about hypothyroidism and the importance of diagnosis and treatment. (Photo courtesy of AbbVie)

Sofia Vergara’s bubbly personality and over-the-top antics as “Gloria Pritchett” on ABC’s “Modern Family” series have made her a household name.  America has fallen in love with the Emmy-nominated Colombian actress, who has appeared in a multitude of roles, including parts in commercials, television shows and Hollywood feature films. Her latest film, “Hot Pursuit”, a comedy in which she stars alongside actress Reese Witherspoon is set to hit theaters this May.

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However, Vergara met with an exclusive group of Miami journalists earlier this month to discuss one of her most important roles to date, her role as a spokesperson for biopharmaceutical company AbbVie’s “Follow the Script” campaign to raise awareness about hypothyroidism, a condition all too familiar for the star.

Sofia Vergara experienced hypothyroidism, a disorder which causes the thyroid gland to produce insufficient levels of the thyroid hormone and can lead to a series of serious complications, firsthand 14 years ago after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 28 years old.

“It was like a little nightmare realizing that I had thyroid cancer,” said Vergara to Press Pass Latino. “I was healthy, I was young and I had never really had anything but I trusted my doctor and did everything that he said I needed to do and he said I needed a thyroid removal so I went ahead with it and as a result developed hypothyroidism.”

At the time of her diagnosis, Vergara did not feel any of the symptoms associated with thyroid cancer which can include trouble breathing, swallowing, hoarseness or voice changes. Her general doctor, however, felt an unusual lump on her neck and ordered a biopsy.

Sofia Vergara was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 14 years ago.

Sofia Vergara on her experience with thyroid cancer: “It made realize that no matter how much beauty, money, success you have – if you don’t have health, you have nothing, because you can’t do anything.” (Photo courtesy of AbbVie)

Now, Vergara, 42, has set out to encourage other women to get checked for hypothyroidism and to “Follow the Script” as she did, by listening to their doctors.

She explained that her doctor, doctor Andrade, told her which medications to take and guided her through the new changes she had to incorporate into her daily routine which include taking a pill every morning, candidly admitting in between laughs: “Sometimes, I get so busy with work in L.A. that I don’t have time to come visit him [doctor Andrande] in Miami so he’ll call me and say ‘You haven’t come to see me in six months! You were supposed to be here three months ago!!”

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All jokes aside, Sofia Vergara says her biggest allied in dealing with hypothyroidism was self-education.

“At that time there was no internet so I went and bought all the books I could find about hypothyroidism at the book store,” she said. “When a doctor tells you that you have any disease it’s normal to feel an initial reaction of panic like I did and mainly it’s because you don’t know much about what you have so one way to calm yourself down is to read as much as you can about it.”

Vergara makes note that her experience surviving thyroid cancer and living with hypothyroidism have fueled her involvement with the “Follow the Script” campaign. “It’s an issue that hits very close to home for me and I thought it would be very nice to be able to help others and be part of this campaign.”

She also stresses the fact that despite not feeling any symptoms at the time of her diagnosis and though she could’ve easily brushed off her doctor’s orders she thinks health is a serious matter.

“It would have been easy to say ‘Ay, no, I don’t have anything’ because I don’t feel anything,” she said. “But I try to be responsible and do, always, what the doctor tells me.”

However, she warns:

 “It’s important to go to the doctor and get checked regularly but don’t get obsessed and enjoy your life, a while after my diagnosis I felt paranoid and thought I was going to develop a series of other cancers, I followed a strict diet and was stressing about it the entire time but soon I realized I couldn’t live that way so I suggest that you always eat healthy, exercise, seek professional help if you need it but never forget to enjoy every minute of your life.”

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Sofia Vergara represent's Abbvie's Follow the Script campaign

Sofia Vergara: “It was like a little nightmare realizing I had thyroid cancer.” (Photo courtesy of AbbVie)

presspasslatino@gmail.com

Daysi Calavia-Robertson has a BA in Mass Communications from Florida International University. Her articles have appeared in The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, The Sun-Sentinel, The South Florida Times and The Huffington Post. She's also conducted entertainment reporting segments on local television. No matter what the medium, Daysi believes in the power of storytelling.

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