Just three months after revealing she is battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Jane Fonda returned to Washington, D.C., to attend a climate change rally on Friday, December 2. The appearance marked her in-person return to Fire Drill Fridays.
The Oscar winner first launched Fire Drill Fridays in 2019 to “sound the alarm on the climate emergency,” according to the event’s official website. Fonda, 84, was famously arrested in 2019 for her rally participation, spending a night in jail at the age of 81. Charged with unlawfully demonstrating at the United States Capitol, Fonda was later released on an “own recognizance release,” also referred to as an O.R. release, which guaranteed a court appearance. The Grace & Frankie star would go on to be arrested for four weeks in a row, appearing before a judge in November 2019. The charges against the actress were eventually dropped.
A huge crowd gathered in support of Fonda’s December 2 appearance, marking the first in-person gathering for the activist group in three years. Orange Is the New Black actress Taylor Schilling and Senator Jeff Merkley were two of the speakers who took the podium at the rally in addition to the On Golden Pond icon.
While undergoing treatment for cancer, Fonda has continued her climate change activism on social media, hosting virtual Fire Drill Fridays and sharing posts about her ongoing work on Instagram. She made a promise to herself to not let her cancer “interfere” with her activism, and just one day before making her speech at the rally, the mom of three gave an update on her condition.
“I don’t feel so good right now,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “My oncologist told me the further you go into the sessions, the harder it is going to be. Well, I just had my fourth session, and it really hit me hard, and I haven’t quite recovered, but it’ll be fine. It’ll pass.”
The Barbarella star initially announced her cancer diagnosis on Instagram in a September 2 post. She received thousands of supportive comments from celebrity friends and fans who are rooting for her as she fights her third bout with the disease.
“So, my dear friends, I have something personal I want to share. I’ve been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and have started chemo treatments,” she wrote. “This is a very treatable cancer. 80 percent of people survive, so I feel very lucky.”
“Cancer is a teacher and I’m paying attention to the lessons it holds for me. One thing it’s shown me already is the importance of community,” she continued, adding, “Of growing and deepening one’s community so that we are not alone. And the cancer, along with my age — almost 85 — definitely teaches the importance of adapting to new realities.”