"Life on the Line," Starring Ally Sheedy, To Air On Oxygen Network | Markle | Advancing America's Future
"Life on the Line," Starring Ally Sheedy, To Air On Oxygen Network | Markle | Advancing America's Future

“Life on the Line,” Starring Ally Sheedy, To Air On Oxygen Network

Publication Date: September 24, 2003 | Back to Latest News

NEW YORK, NY—The Markle Foundation and Oxygen Media, in collaboration with WebMD and Foundation for Accountability (FACCT), today announced that “Life on the Line,” an original TV drama starring Ally Sheedy will air on October 2nd at 10:30 PM on the Oxygen Network. “Life on the Line” is a unique initiative combining the powers of the Internet and TV to inspire and enable women to take control of both their health and health care. The “Life on the Line” web site (www.lifeontheline.webmd.com), which was launched in August, is an online resource center from WebMD Health that provides women with the health information and resource tools they need to become more active participants in the health care system.

In the “Life on the Line” TV program, Ally Sheedy portrays Chris McHugh, a 34-year old mother of two, and her courageous battle against inflammatory breast cancer. Diagnosed with cancer and given only 18 months to live, Chris McHugh resolved to learn everything she could about her disease and treatment options. Chris passed away earlier this year, but six years, not 18 months, after her diagnosis. By becoming her own health advocate, she bought precious years with her family and friends that doctors predicted she would never have had. In addition, she became an advocate for all women with serious illnesses, urging them to be their own health care champions.

The web component to “Life on the Line” brings together some of the best health resources on the Internet and streamlines the often complex process of researching reliable health and health care information. Women can use “Life on the Line” to assess how empowered they are as patients; compare the care they are currently receiving to broader norms; generate personalized tips to improve their care and their relationships with their doctors; find doctors and hospitals appropriate to their individual needs; learn critical aspects of self-care to stay as healthy as possible; and get and give support through WebMD Health’s peer support systems.

“The lesson we can learn from Chris McHugh’s courageous fight against cancer is the importance of being an active patient,” said Zoë Baird, president of the Markle Foundation. “The Markle Foundation’s health program is committed to empowering patients and improving our health care system. `Life on the Line’ is a great example of how information and communication technologies can be used by patients to improve their health care.”

“We all know that the days of Marcus Welby MD are gone, that the change in our health care system today requires a much more informed, active patient,” said Geraldine Laybourne, Chairman and CEO of Oxygen Media. “`Life on the Line’ does a great job of role-modeling this new reality.”

“The `Life on the Line’ center provides high-quality content specifically suited for the different stages within the healthcare continuum, delivering education and guidance that addresses the challenges associated with navigating the healthcare system,” said Nan Forte, EVP, Consumer Services, WebMD Health stated. “The `Life on the Line’ partnership supports WebMD Health’s mission of making health information more accessible, easy to understand and, most importantly, actionable.”

The “Life on the Line” concept was developed by the Markle Foundation in collaboration with WebMD, FACCT, Oxygen Media and a team of health and media experts. “Life on the Line” was directed by Bette Gordon. Ellen Lewis, Stuart Rekant, and Cheryl Miller Houser served as executive producers. Lydia Stephans served as Executive in Charge of Production for Oxygen Media. “Life on the Line” was produced by Hidden Treasure Productions.



Markle Foundation works to improve health and national security through the use of information and technology. Markle collaborates with innovators and thought leaders from the public and private sectors whose expertise lies in the areas of information technology, privacy, civil liberties, health, and national security. Learn more about Markle at www.markle.org.

FACCT – Foundation for Accountability is a national organization improving health care for Americans by advocating for an accountable and accessible system where consumers are partners in their care and help shape the delivery of care. To achieve this goal, FACCT creates tools to help people make quality-based decisions, develops consumer-based quality measures, supports public education about health care quality, fosters efforts to collect quality data and informs public policy.

Oxygen Media, a 24-hour cable television network puts a fresh spin on television for women. With original series by Oprah Winfrey, Isaac Mizrahi, and Carrie Fisher, Oxygen airs more original programming than any other women’s network. Founded in 1998, the network is independently owned and now available in 48 million cable households.