It’s that time of year again. The eleventh annual St. Jude Children’s Hospital benefit hosted by Martha Byrne (Lily) of As The World Turns. The event will bring over one hundred of daytime’s finest stars to the Marriott Marquis in New York for a night of entertainment, fun, mingling with the stars, all to help raise money to help find cures and save children’s lives.
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for it’s pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases. The hospital was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas.
“I’m so proud to be hosting this benefit, and will continue to do so as long as we’re raising money. Would you believe it’s in its eleventh year?” Byrne jubilantly said. “I always had this dream that someday this thing (benefit) would run itself, and I’m so excited about the response from the stars and fans.”
Byrne became acquainted with St. Jude’s hospital as a kid. Her mother always gave part of her earnings from acting to the hospital, and now she decided to carry on the tradition with the benefit.
“I still work very closely with my mom on this benefit. We do everything ourselves. It’s hands on all the way,” Byrne said. “Mom and I send out the invites, book the stars, put them up, make tons of calls, and handle all the arrangements.”
Byrne refers to the St. Jude Hospital benefit as “Putting together a big wedding.” After each event, she admitted to taking off two weeks and then the routine planning process begins for next year with the hopes that each will be more successful than the last.
Byrne’s annual benefit has come along way. Eleven years ago the event was held in a small room at the old Hotel Macklow in New York. Stars mostly from As The World Turns attended, there was entertainment, but today it has grown to a multitude of stars from every show.
“I always wanted the Los Angeles actors to be able to fly in and participate,” Byrne said. I know there is no greater community in television then the people that work in daytime, and I was right. It’s spectacular how everyone looks forward and participates.”
The evening will consist of Broadway style entertainment, a hot buffet, and open bar (beer, wine, and soda). Music will be provided by the Party Dolls, and there will be an autograph session, a goody bag, an auction consisting of unique designer clothing, jewelry, sports packages and much more.
Fans from across the United States and even foreign countries are expected to attend, and each will also receive a very special gift from Martha Byrne.
“This year we’ve increased the mingling of the stars. Don’t be surprised to be sitting next to your favorite star,” Byrne said. There will be raffles, and I’m taking bids for dinner with Kin Schriner (Keith; ATWT). I told Kin, be prepared to eat a lot. I plan on displaying him like a piece of meat.”
Byrne not only hosts the St. Jude's Hospital benefit, but is in touch with Marlo Thomas (That Girl), daughter of Danny Thomas, who is very briefed on the event, and Byrne has visited St. Jude's Hospital.
“After seeing all this first hand I know how important it is to raise money,” Byrne said. “Going to the hospital is very inspirational. The children are uplifting, and the parents, staff, and doctors are just wonderful.”
Soapdom wants to know, any message for the fans that are planning on attending? “Yes. It will be a lot of fun, but there is the serious side to the reason we are having this event, and that is to help the children. I just want you (the fans) to know that without you and your support, there would be no soap opera, or event, and for that I Thank You.”
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