Guests at the Harvest Ball usually mingle under the stars, not with them. That changed this year as acclaimed actress and author Jamie Lee Curtis surprised the crowd with an unannounced visit. Ms. Curtis arrived via limousine with Children’s President and CEO William Haug, moved immediately into the gala and began taking photos and chatting with donors.
Ms. Curtis has been Children’s official spokesperson since 2007, but this was her first visit to the hospital’s black-tie fundraiser. She reminded everyone that her family is from the Valley, and declared herself the hospital’s “self-proclaimed celebrity cheerleader”.
The cheerleading obviously worked, as this year’s ball raised more than $500,000, adding to a $3 million 12-year total.
Ms. Curtis’ agenda was very clear as she urged the 800 people in attendance to support the Hospital financially. She spent a great deal of time speaking to donors alone and in small groups before taking the stage with another surprise.
The star of the new movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua personally auctioned a poster and script signed by the entire cast, as well as photos of the star Chihuahuas and two stuffed Chihuahua souvenirs. Bruce Allbright, a former Children’s Board Chair, quickly met Ms. Curtis’ asking price of $10,000. The donation earned him not only the movie memorabilia, but a big hug and a peck on the cheek.
Many Harvest Ball revelers got the chance to meet Ms. Curtis personally and have their photo taken with her. Local news agencies also covered the event. Ms. Curtis used the television opportunity to promote giving to the hospital, but also stated her support for Proposition 3. Proposition 3 is known as The Children’s Hospital Bond Act and funds the construction, expansion, remodeling, furnishing, and equipping of children’s hospitals. It will be on the ballot in November.
The actress, who has roots in Central California, is prominently featured in advertisements and promotions for Children’s Hospital. Her mother, famed actress Janet Leigh, was born in Merced, one of the communities served by Children’s. She is very involved with children’s issues throughout the nation and has written several inspiring children’s books.