Over $250,000 Was Raised!
At right: Soapdom's Phyllis A. Tremblay and ATWT's Roger Howarth (Paul) Photo: Mrs. Roger Howarth, aka, Cari!
On October 8th the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City was the site for the 10th Annual Daytime Television St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Benefit. Stars from both the Daytime and Reality TV shows were on hand to take part in this wonderful event.
It has been 10 years since Martha Byrne, (Lily, ATWT) started hosting and raising money for St. Jude’s. Every year that this event has been held, we have seen the numbers of attending fans, celebrities and money raised grow. This year is no exception. Over 110 stars and close to 1000 fans combined help to raise more than $250,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital by participating in either the Live or Silent Auctions or buying raffle tickets. Trips for two to either LA or NYC were donated by JetBlue Airways for the Live Auction. Items such as a One Carat Ascher Cut Diamond Pendant, compliments of Sol Rafael Jewelers Fifth Avenue, a Black Fresh Water Pearl and Diamond Necklace compliments of Fortunoff and various theater packages were some of the prizes for the in-house raffle. There were posters and place mats on every table that served as a gentle reminder that this event is held and the money being raised goes directly to help the kids.
In lieu of a press conference this year, Martha Byrne had the families of St. Jude patients, Jake Marshall and Cody Bigos, take center stage to a wonderful ovation. She also invited all the attending stars to share the stage with her. It provided a wonderful image for fans to take away with them. For one night, fans and stars alike were united to make life better for all the patients who come to St. Jude.
Let me share this excerpt from the St. Jude website with you. It relates to the funding:
“St. Jude is unlike any other pediatric treatment and research facility anywhere. Discoveries made here have completely changed how the world treats children with cancer and other catastrophic illnesses.
We are where some of today’s most gifted researchers are able to do more science, more quickly. Where doctors across the world send their toughest cases and most vulnerable patients; where no one pays for treatment beyond what is covered by insurance, and those without insurance are never asked to pay. We’ve built America’s 4th largest health-care charity, with a model that keeps the costs down and the funds flowing so the science never stops.”
The Marriott has been under renovations and only five of the 15 elevators were available. This presented a huge inconvenience for both the actors and the fans as they were not able to access the main ballroom in a timely manner. The elevator situation prompted people to use the escalators to the main ballroom. It was a blessing that fans were able to use the escalators but that presented a potential security problem. There were multiple entrance points that needed to be secured, and if it wasn’t for Byrne’s husband Michael and his 15 friends from the NYPD helping with security, safety would have been a problem. Thanks Michael.
Once the fans were safely inside the main ballroom, they were treated to the entertainment of the Party Dolls along with featured daytime TV favorites. I was very fortunate this year to have the opportunity to meet Bobbie Eakes, (Krystal, AMC) at the Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids event and to ask her if she would like to perform at the event. She was thrilled by the question and happy to comply. I did get a chance to hear her during her rehearsal and she was so grateful for this opportunity. When she left the event she turned to me and said “You MADE it happen, thanks so much.”
Ilene Kristen (Roxy, OLTL) was another first-time performer and she came out of the event saying that she had a blast. Other daytime performers included Kim Zimmer, (Reva, GL), Tamara Tunie, Michael Park, Scott Holmes and Martha Byrne, (Jessica, Jack, Tom, and Lily, ATWT), Lauren Woodland, (Brittany, Y&R) and Justin Klosky, (Joey, GL).
For two years now, the show stopping performer is none other than Tamara Tunie when she sings: ”It’s Raining Men.” What really got the crowd going was Lisa Brown, (ex-Iva, ATWT) who was on a mission to seek out the men and bring them on stage. This year, the usually shy and quiet men adorned the stage. Brown brought out Frank Dicopoulous, (Frank, GL), Peter Parros, (Ben, ATWT) and Scott Bailey (Sandy, GL) just to name a few. I wish that moment would have lasted longer just because everyone was having so much fun.
Speaking of having fun, I have volunteered at the event for a number of years, and I was assigned to the actor/press check-in again this year. While most fans want to be in my place, I have to tell you, it’s a tough job. I mean, I am still a fan but for the hours that I am assigned this task, I cannot stop and pause to take a photo or even talk to the actors for very long. This year was I so excited that one of my favorite actors, a man who rarely makes public appearances was to attend. I am talking about Roger Howarth, (Paul, ATWT, ex Todd, OLTL). I have admired this man’s acting abilities for years now and I never believed that I would get to meet him, let alone talk to him. When he arrived with his wife, Carrie, he was so humorous. I asked him if he had attended the Pre-Event and he came back with ‘yup, we walked around the room and talked to the fans.’ I expected shyness and someone being overwhelmed and Howarth couldn’t have been enjoying himself more. I got the opportunity after my check-in shift to talk to Howarth and his wife. The highlight of MY night was having my photo taken with him by his wife, Cari. I couldn’t have been more excited. Thanks Cari for taking such a great photo and for creating a wonderful memory for me. Actually, Howarth was one of the few actors that stayed till the end. He graciously posed for photos and signed autographs for countless fans.
Every year I try to take one trip out on the dance floor and this year was no exception. I had never met Rodney Van Johnson, (TC, Passions) and I was amazed at how tall he was. As I was checking him in I must have mentioned to him to save me a dance because lo and behold, he found me and brought me out onto the dance floor. What was really funny was Amelia Marshall’s (Liz, Passions) reaction when she checked out my shoes before I went out on the floor. “OK, you should be fine; your toes should be okay in your closed shoes!” Hmm now just what did she mean by that? All I know is that someone took my camera from me and snapped a shot of our moment on the floor. Thanks.
ABC fans were delighted when they got the opportunity to talk with Nathaniel Marsten and Kathy Brier, (Michael and Marcie, OLTL). Marston was apprehensive to attend such a large event seeing that he still requires a crutch to walk, but he was awesome. Brier looked beautiful in her lavender dress. You can see what I mean in the photo gallery. David Fumero and Kamar De Los Reyes, (ex Cristian and Antonio/Manuel Santi Jr, OLTL) arrived together much to the delight of the fans and looked oh so fine.
Alexa Havins and Justin Bruening (Babe and Jaime, AMC) and Agim Kaba and Elizabeth Hedrickson (Aaron, ATWT and Maggie, AMC) reminded the fans that love was in the air. Tamara Tunie (Jessica, ATWT) and Peter Parros (Ben, ATWT) arrived with special guests this year. Tunie brought her mom and Parros brought his dad. They were so proud to attend the event with their children. First time attendee Sarah Brown, (Julia, ATWT) was awed by the size of the crowd as was the ever gorgeous, Eva La Rue, (Maria, AMC).
There were surprise visits from Robin Mattson (Heather, GH) and As the World Turns alumnus, Kristina Sisco (Abigail). The last we heard, Sisco was going to film school in Maine. Having completed school, she is now working in Los Angeles and sporting golden blond hair. She looked absolutely stunning, even if I didn’t recognize her.
Anthony Herrera (James Stenbeck, ATWT) was in attendance and he patiently signed autographs for the fans who were inquiring about his book, “The Cancer War.”
It was wonderful to see new parents, Terri Colombino (Katie, ATWT) and her husband Artie. When asked about how their new baby girl was doing, Colombino proudly displayed a 4x6 photo of her little angel. No matter who they were speaking with, people left with the biggest smile.
Seeing that photo put things into perspective for me. After all the partying and the schmoozing with the actors, the fact remains that this event is for the kids. We all attend this event with different agendas but the true stars are children like Cody Bigos and Jake Marshall. All the arduous work that goes into this benefit helps patients like Cody and Jake. And if I forgot that during the evening, I was soon reminded when Cody’s mom kissed me upon her exit. To sum it up, “It’s for the Kids.”
|< Prev||Next >|