The Red Carpet is tough business for celebrities. They have to look perfect, even in ungenerous weather and glamorous but often uncomfortable outfits. They have to answer time and time again the same questions. Their faces transform when they are not being photographed or interviewed, from excitement to utter boringness or even annoyance. Last night was the exception at the 10th St Jude/Fedex Angels and Stars Gala.
Dozens of stars and high society personalities gathered in Miami's J.W. Marriot Marquis Hotel to participate in the event –one of the biggest fund-raiser of the organization- hosted this year by Colombian songwriter and singer Juanes and his wife, actress Karen Martínez. The celebrities brought genuine smiles and a surprising deep knowledge of St Jude's work in both research and treatment of our little ones.
Daisy Fuentes and Juan Luis Guerra were recognized for their commitment with children. Guerra helps through his foundation in the Dominican Republic. Fuentes works directly with St. Jude. This event is actually her brainchild. Well, "heart-child" would be a better term. She attended a similar party in Los Angeles, visited the hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and fell in love with the children. She organized the first gala in Miami 10 years ago and has been a big part of it every year.
"I really do it for this guys", Fuentes said, when she received the award from the hands of Carlos, a 13 year old boy that she had met at the hospital. "He was teeny tiny boy, bold from chemotherapy, and look at him now, healthy and about to start High School".
"There is more honor in giving than in receiving", said Guerra. Who explained how St Jude's hospital not only works with kids in the United States. It also offers knowledge, training and organization skills to children abroad. In Latin America, they work in the Dominican Republic, Central America, Mexico and soon Haiti. Talk about a place where children need help!
I understand now what they mean. I knew of St Jude as probably many of you do, through the TV commercial of the Super Star and the little patient. My husband and I had donated it some money and even bought some of their teddy bears last Christmas. But nothing compares to the joy of really being part of such an organization. I donated my time and skills as a reporter to the hospital for the gala and it was one of the best experiences of my life!
Among the attendants also were Giselle Blondet and Julián Gil, Candela Ferro and Khotan, actresses Sonya Smith and Danna García, Colombian Singer Fonseca (He and Shakira were the main attractions at the Cartagena Summit), Spanish pop star David Bisbal, Dominican singer Vicente García, Central American singer Sophia del Carmen and Univision's Despierta América and Primer Impacto anchorman and anchorwoman respectively, Raúl González and Pamela Silva Conde.
Beside the income from the tickets to the dinner, 400$ a seat (There were more than 500 people in the room). Pollo Campero, a Guatemalan chain of restaurants, and Fedex donated 100,000 and 40,000 dollars each to St Jude. During the night there was an action of great items, like memorabilia from the Miami Heats, clothes and shoes autographed by PitBull, a tennis racket donated by Anna Kournikova, guitars from Juanes and Andrea Bocelli, trips to South America, spa packages and much more. Amazingly, 83% of all the money goes to patient treatment and research.
The big stars of the night were the children. Pictures of their faces were shown constantly, their spirit was everywhere. Also everywhere were dozen of volunteers helping with the logistics and organization. It was truly a magical night!. If you can do help. You will not only be helping the children, it will be a gift to your own heart.
Image via Alicia Civita for Mamás Latinas