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John Donald "Don" Imus is a radio personality famous for his "insult humor" as well as a philanthropist working to help children with cancer and other groups.
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But these efforts did not quiet the outrage over his remark in the African-American community, with such public figures as Barack Obama speaking out about the situation.
After more than 30 years on the air, Imus' outrageous outburst brought his radio career to a temporary end. Initially, CBS Radio suspended Imus for two weeks, but later decided to fire him. On August 14, 2007,
Imus reached a settlement with CBS over his multimillion-dollar contract. Terms were not disclosed, although it reportedly forbade him from speaking negatively about his former employer.
Imus returned to the airwaves December 3, 2007, eight months after it looked like a racist and sexist remark would end his broadcasting career. He called his remarks in April "reprehensible" and said the women were "innocent people" who didn't deserve to be mocked. He also vowed that his program would not change.
Imus has come a long way since he first took to the airwaves in 1968. Sober for more than 20 years, Imus now runs a mile each day and eats a vegetarian diet. Despite his cantankerous reputation, Imus's philanthropy is heart-felt and extensive. He and his second wife, Deirdre, run the Imus Ranch in New Mexico, a summer camp program for children suffering from cancer or blood disorders, and young people who have lost siblings to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The focus of the ranch is to restore the self-esteem and emotional well-being to these children through their participation in the working cattle ranch.
As founder of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology at New Jersey's Hackensack University Medical Center, the Imuses are also committed to reducing the number of carcinogens and toxins exposed to children. To aid this mission, the Imuses have created an environmentally safe product line called "Greening the Cleaning." The proceeds from the products go directly to the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center has won numerous awards for inventing and promoting the cleaning supplies, including an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Since 1988, Imus has also been involved in Tomorrow's Children Foundation, a New Jersey based charity for children with cancer and blood disorders, as well as with the CJ Foundation, an organization which supports SIDS research and educational efforts. Over the years, Imus has raised millions of dollars for these organizations. In 2007, Imus raised over $6 million dollars to build the Center for the Intrepid, a rehabilitation center for U.S. veterans returning from war. Imus's on-air musings regarding the association between mercury based vaccines and autism also lent support to the Combating Autism Act.
On March 16, 2009, Imus announced to his audience that he was diagnosed with Stage II prostate cancer. His cancer has not spread, and doctors expect him to respond well to treatment. Imus said he would continue his show, which reaches nearly 30 million homes in 34 cities across America.
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