Dr. Vaughn Starnes, a Pasadena resident, will be lauded at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles “From Paris With Love” gala, presented by Hasbro at the Event Deck at L.A. Live on Saturday evening, Oct. 20. More than 1,400 people are expected to attend the biennial event, which brings together prominent philanthropists, business and entertainment leaders, local dignitaries and supporters to raise funds to help the hospital provide expert critical care to its pediatric population.
Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully and global play and entertainment company Hasbro are the evening’s Courage to Care award honorees. While these champions of child-related causes come from varied backgrounds and industries, they share a common bond through their altruism, philanthropy and activism to improve the welfare of children worldwide. Past CHLA gala honorees include Drew Barrymore, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum, Jamie Lee Curtis, Pau Gasol, the L.A. Kings hockey team, the Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Foundation, Costco Wholesale and the Walt Disney Co.
“This evening is a celebration of the dedication these compassionate individuals have made to the Los Angeles community and to the patients and families we serve,” said CHLA President and CEO Paul S. Viviano. “Their efforts give voices and faces to the children we work so valiantly to serve so that no child goes without critical health care when they need it.”
Starnes, the evening’s special guest and mission ambassador, is co-director of the Heart Institute and founder of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at CHLA. In 1990, he performed the world’s first lobar transplant using a lung segment from a living, related donor, the patient’s mother. The following year, he performed a heart and lung transplant on a 1-month-old baby, the youngest heart-lung transplant patient ever.
Joining CHLA as the division head in 1992, Starnes founded the hospital’s Heart Institute and launched the pediatric heart transplant program, which marked its 25th anniversary this year. Starnes, who performed life-saving heart surgery on Kimmel’s son Billy, also specializes in treating damaged heart valves with minimally invasive repairs and valve replacements.
In addition, he is a distinguished researcher and is investigating the use of gene therapy to prevent scarring after heart surgery, and stem-cell usage to treat rare cardiac defects in children. Starnes is currently the vice president of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery and will be its 100th president in 2019-20.
Kimmel is host and executive producer of the seven-time Emmy Award-nominated “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” ABC’s show now entering its 16th season. In April 2017, Kimmel and his wife, Molly, welcomed their son, Billy, into the family. He was born with a rare congenital heart defect, tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia, which was first detected hours after birth. At just 3 days old, Billy underwent successful open-heart surgery at CHLA, a story Kimmel shared in a heartfelt monologue that touched millions of viewers around the world. Kimmel has continued to advocate for health-care coverage for all children and families in America.
Scully retired in 2016 after delighting listeners for 67 consecutive seasons of play-by-play announcing. During his career, he received numerous accolades, including the Ford Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, a lifetime achievement Emmy Award for sportscasting in 1995 and an induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. President Barack Obama presented Scully with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, at the White House in 2016. Even in retirement, Scully has gained a new generation of listeners at CHLA by reading storybooks to patients in the hospital’s Literally Healing room. He’s also the voice of public service announcements supporting Proposition 4, the bond initiative to raise funds for children’s hospitals throughout California.
Hasbro is this year’s corporate Courage to Care honoree and the gala’s title sponsor. From toys and games to television, movies, digital gaming and consumer products, Hasbro offers a variety of ways for audiences to experience its iconic brands, including Nerf, My Little Pony, Transformers, Play-Doh, Monopoly, Baby Alive and Magic: The Gathering. Hasbro is committed to making the world a better place for children and their families through corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, and consistently ranks in the top five on CR Magazine’s list of 100 best corporate citizens. Through its philanthropic programs like “Be Fearless Be Kind,” Hasbro works passionately to create a universe where every child experiences hope, kindness and joy. Hasbro is a supporter of CHLA, providing grants, product donations and employee volunteers at events throughout the year.
“We are proud to support Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the dedicated teams of doctors, nurses and researchers who are making a difference in the lives of so many children and families,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s chairman and CEO. “On behalf of all of our employees, many of whom have volunteered personally with the hospital, we are truly honored and humbled by this recognition.”
Red carpet arrivals begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception and sit-down dinner prepared by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. The evening’s “From Paris With Love” theme will be represented with a Parisian carousel and a ballet performance. Emmy-nominated actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson will serve as the evening’s host and Grammy Award-winning music artists Pharrell Williams and Foo Fighters will provide special live performances. Other gala guests include Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Co.; Mary Hart, television personality and longtime CHLA supporter; and entertainment and media mogul Haim Saban and his wife, philanthropist and CHLA Foundation Board of Trustees member Cheryl Saban, who designed the artisan glass awards that will be presented to the evening’s honorees.
Gala benefactor sponsors are Costco Wholesale, Disney and the Sydney Smith Trust. Premier sponsors are the Goldhirsch-Yellin Foundation and Kristin and Jeffrey Worthe, chair of the CHLA Board of Directors.