NORMAN — Giuliana Rancic is well-known as host of “E! News,” but within the last two years, she's also become known for her struggle to conceive, a publicized miscarriage, her battle against breast cancer and the recent birth of her first child, Edward Duke.
Rancic will be the featured speaker at the University of Oklahoma's Lloyd Noble Center in Norman on Friday. The appearance is hosted by the Alpha Iota chapter of Delta Gamma as part of the OU sorority's biennial Lectureship in Values and Ethics. The sorority hosts the event in association with the OU Panhellenic Association and Campus Activities Council Speaker's Bureau.
Rancic is author of two books: “Think Like a Guy: How to Get a Guy by Thinking Like One” and “I Do, Now What?,” which she wrote with husband Bill Rancic.
Since the lectureship is in October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, Rancic was chosen to speak not only because she went public with her breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, but also because she has since been an outspoken advocate for the importance of breast cancer screening and early detection.
“Giuliana Rancic has done a phenomenal job of reaching out to women and men to increase breast health awareness around the nation,” said Meredith Ellinger, an OU public relations senior who has assumed the role of director of this year's lectureship.
Rancic's battle with breast cancer began during her third attempt at in vitro fertilization.
A fertility doctor had ordered a mammogram. Rancic admits having to be dragged to her appointment “kicking and screaming” the whole way.
“Thank God I did it,” she later told the “Today” show. Rancic's cancer was detected early enough that she was given excellent odds at recovery.
Rancic had a double lumpectomy last October shortly after learning of her cancer. The surgery didn't remove all the cancer, prompting Rancic to undergo a double mastectomy two months later.
Despite Rancic's hardships trying to conceive, then dealing with cancer, she and her husband decided not to give up on their dream of being parents. They hired a gestational carrier (the term used for a surrogate who carries a child with whom she is not genetically connected). Edward Duke Rancic was born Aug. 29 in Denver.
“So far, Duke has been a dream baby,” Rancic wrote in a blog post for TODAY Moms. “It is so true what they say. Your entire life changes the moment you lay eyes on your new baby. The moment I looked into Duke's eyes for the first time, I fell in love and realized that nothing else in the world matters.”
At the OU event, Rancic will speak of her trials in recent years and her secrets for keeping a positive outlook when times are especially difficult.
The event is free and open to the public. In keeping with the breast cancer awareness theme, Molly K Ross, outreach coordinator for OU Breast Institute will open the event, speaking of her own fight against breast cancer, as well as about the science and facts behind the disease.
Previous speakers for the Lectureship in Values and Ethics include “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, sportscaster Linda Cohn, and most recently Leigh Ann Tuohy, the real-life woman behind the Sandra Bullock character in the movie, “The Blindside.”
The Lloyd Noble Center is at 2900 Jenkins Ave. in Norman. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the lectureship begins at 7 p.m. on Friday. For information, email OUDGLectureship@gmail.com.