Natalie Portman, Seal, Maria Menounos & More Raise $3.1 Million For Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and more than 1,200 of its closest friends—including Natalie Portman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Maria Menounos, Teri Hatcher, Colin Egglesfield and Seal—helped raise more than $3.1 million to treat sick kids during the hospital’s biennial Noche de Niños Gala.

Samba dancers and music from Brazilian artist Sergio Mendes and Brasil 2014 fueled the Carnaval-inspired event, where hospital leaders paid tribute to champions of child-related causes by presenting the “Courage to Care” award to Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman, philanthropists Bill and Sally Hurt, and global retailer Costco Wholesale.

“As one of the nation’s leading and largest children’s hospitals, our partners, donors and community are the lifeblood of our hospital,” said Children’s Hospital Los Angeles President and CEO Richard Cordova, FACHE.

Natalie Portman, a supporter of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, became involved as a volunteer in 2008, helping in the Teen Lounge, a unique space for teens and adolescents coping with hospitalization, and assisting Child Life specialists with patient activities in the hospital playrooms.

“What I quickly learned about the hospital was that it’s the kind of place that’s easy to support, because they make it all about the kids,” Portman said. “These kids go through more before they’re eighteen than most of us will know in a lifetime.”

“There’s no better investment than human capital,” said Bill Hurt, long-time hospital Trustee. “The people who should be honored tonight are not people like us, but the 600 doctors, the 1,300 nurses and the 400 researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who have devoted their lives and spend seven days a week, 365 days to care for and bring comfort to kids.”

Costco Wholesale, a membership-only warehouse club and the second largest retailer in the United States, has been a supporter since 1983, donating more than $16 million through employees, vendors and its own corporate match program, making it the hospital’s largest corporate donor. Find out about Costco’s latest gift.

Guests enjoyed cuisine by Wolfgang Puck while Maria Menounos, E! host, actor, reporter, filmmaker, producer, founder of Take Action Hollywood and best-selling author, guided everyone through the evening as master of ceremonies.

The program featured hospital heroes, shared stories of hope and courage and highlighted the generosity and support of the night’s honorees. The gala concluded with a headline set from chart-topping artist and four-time GRAMMY winner Seal.

Guests were treated to special pizza hors d’oeuvres in honor of 3-year-old CHLA patient Hazel Hammersley, who gained international fame last year when her mother posted “Send Pizza” to their hospital room window. Hazel—who now has “no evidence of disease” after undergoing cutting-edge stem therapy treatments at CHLA for neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer in children—is exemplary of the hospital’s innovative, compassionate care and the importance of philanthropic support, which helps ensure other children like Hazel receive the very best care.

Noche de Niños was presented by Delta Air Lines, and was supported in part by generous hospital sponsors Kristin and Jeffrey Worthe, Erling West, Jr. Trust, Lisa and Adam Stoll and Carol and David Bienstock.

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