Celebrity Cruises is marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month in a particularly unique and meaningful way. Richard D. Fain, chair of Celebrity Cruises and chair and CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), and Michael Bayley, Celebrity’s president and CEO, recently 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 — Jovanka 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, Jovanka 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 Jovanka now is AquaSpa manager on Celebrity Constellation.
Megan Mathie — Megan is a glassblowing artist in the Hot Glass Show aboard Celebrity Solstice, and previously performed the same role aboard Celebrity Eclipse. 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, Megan 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 — Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Helen O’Connell — An eight-year employee of the company, Helen manages 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 “GIVE (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. Helen 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. Helen 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 — 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, she 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, Rosey 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,” Fain said. “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,” he added.
“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,” Bayley said. “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.”
The four Godmothers of Celebrity Reflection will preside over the naming of the ship in Miami on Dec. 1, and consistent with Celebrity’s Solstice Class tradition, will be joined by the godmothers of each of Celebrity Reflection’s sister ships.
For more information about Celebrity Cruise Line, call 1-800-437-3111, visit www.celebritycruises.com, or contact your travel agent.