The event, which was sponsored by Asics, was dedicated to four fabulous women in the entertainment industry who have contributed their talents and personal passions to worthy causes.
This year’s honorees included the late Lisa Rankin, who co-founded Stand Up 2 Cancer, and who passed away on June 12, 2011 after bravely battling breast cancer for 7 years. The audience literally stood up for cancer in honor of Lisa and paused for a moment of silence. Though there was a palpable sadness in the air as she was remembered for her strength and determination, guests were urged to keep her legacy alive by joining the fight to end cancer once and for all.
Kristin Chenoweth was honored for her dedication to animals, which was inspired by her dog Maddie. She founded Maddie’s Corner in her pet’s honor, and at this time, the organization is dedicated to creating “a fund that will assist qualified animal shelters/rescue groups in their work on behalf of animals in need.” Have I mentioned how freakishly adorable she is? She could fit in my pocket. Oh. And the girl’s got vertigo, which makes us almost related.
Okay, not really, but she’s a rock star in my book.
Marg Helgenberger, who is best known for her starring role as Catherine Willows in the CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was awarded for her work with The Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis. Marg’s father died at the age of 50 from complications from MS and Marg’s personal connection to the disease has inspired her to work with the foundation in the search for a cure. You can read more about Marg’s personal journey here.
Last, but certainly not least, Prevention Magazine honored Holly Robinson Peete for her work with her foundation, HollyRod, which she co-founded with her husband, ex-NFL quarterback Rodney Peete in 1997 in honor of Holly’s father Matthew T. Robinson, Jr. (who happened to be the original Gordon on Sesame Street) and who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. After Holly and Rodney’s eldest son RJ was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3, the power couple expanded their foundation’s role to include “providing compassionate care to those living with Autism and Parkinson’s disease.”
But last night when I had the opportunity to meet with her one-on-one and she took my hands in hers as I described Andrew’s struggles with autism and my hope for his future, she was a mom, just like me, affected, inspired, moved to contribute towards the solution rather than sit around and let someone else do the dirty work.
I looked into her eyes and I saw the eyes of a mother determined to make something happen; for her son, for my son, for the sons and daughters of so many heartbroken and hopeful parents across the country.
And to me, that’s the best kind of superstar.