"Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is a remarkable place," says Lopez. "This top pediatric facility treats and cares for some of the sickest children, not just from California but from all over the world. These kids need our support and I feel blessed to be able to help."
"Jennifer Lopez is accomplished in so many ways; so very talented, she is just as beautiful inside as she is outside!" says event co-chair Cheryl Saban, who is a member of the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Board of Trustees. "We have come to appreciate her interest in the kids at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles as well as her commitment to be supportive of the work we do here. She is very special."
Courage to Care recipient Trish Meraz's son, Dustin, passed away last year at age 11 from neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer. Meraz is receiving the Courage to Care Award because she not only cared for her son with strength and honesty during his illness, she also reached out to other families at the hospital and offered them hope in a time of crisis. No matter how tough it got for her own son, she was always available to lend a sympathetic ear, compassionate advice, and a spirit of hope to all she encountered. Dustin wanted to be an actor, and before he died he received an honorary Screen Actors Guild card from SAG President Melissa Gilbert during a surprise visit to Dustin at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Gilbert was accompanied by members of the SAG board, along with Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio, who began a friendship with the Meraz family that continues today.
Packed with star-wattage and organized for a noble cause, "Noche de Ninos" is being hosted by film star Antonio Banderas, child advocate Cheryl Saban, and MGM Chairman and CEO Alex Yemenidjian; Giselle Fernandez-Farrand is executive producing the event, with David Foster and Humberto Gatica as entertainment producers. Set to take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, "Noche de Ninos" will be emceed by George Lopez and will feature entertainment from Marc Anthony, Alejandro Sanz, Carlos Baute, Joaquin Cortes, and Cheech Marin. The evening marks an effort to raise $500 million for new facilities for the hospital as well as for endowment, program, and annual support.
For more information on Childrens Hospital Los Angeles or for sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, visit www.ChildrensHospitalLA.org.
Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America's premier teaching hospitals, training more young pediatricians than any other health care facility in California through its association with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932. It is a national leader in pediatric research.
Today, physician-scientists at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles address the most vexing pediatric medical problems and discover important new therapies for children everywhere, including advances in cancer care, gene transfer, stem cell and organ transplantation and diabetes. The Saban Research Institute is among the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States, with 91 investigators at work on 234 laboratory studies, clinical trials and community-based research and health services. It is one of the few free-standing research centers in the nation to combine scientific laboratory inquiry with patient clinical care -- dedicated exclusively to children -- and its base of knowledge is widely considered to be among the best in pediatric medicine.
Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.
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