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For Immediate Release

Jamie Lee Curtis Hosts Children’s Hospital’s Third Annual Black-Tie Gala

Hospital honors actress with naming of endowed chair

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis will be in Pittsburgh Thursday hosting Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s third annual black-tie fund-raiser being held at The Mall at Robinson. Children’s Hospital also is honoring Ms. Curtis for her commitment to the hospital and children’s causes by establishing an endowed chair in her name – The Jamie Lee Curtis Endowed Chair in Pediatric Transplantation.

Children’s Hospital’s annual gala has been heralded as one of the area’s top fund-raisers and best parties of the year. This year, the gala – A Ball at the Mall – will be held at Pittsburgh’s newest shopping mall, The Mall at Robinson, Robinson Township. Proceeds will benefit cancer, diabetes and Duchenne muscular dystrophy research, and sponsors include Forest City, Zamagias Properties, FreeMarkets, Salomon Smith Barney, Equitable Resources and United Airlines. More than 700 guests are expected to attend.

Ms. Curtis has been a long-time supporter of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, beginning her relationship in 1983 when she befriended 13-year-old Lori Tull, a heart transplant patient. Although Lori died at 19, Ms. Curtis continued to care for the patients at Children’s by donating television sets, VCRs, movies and toys over the years.

In 1999, Ms. Curtis returned to Children’s Hospital to host its first black-tie gala to raise money for pediatric cancer research. During her visit, Ms. Curtis met 13-year-old cancer patient Katie Westbrook, and they became fast friends. The night of the gala, wearing Katie’s pink wig, Ms. Curtis inspired guests to donate more than $500,000. Ms. Curtis returned to Pittsburgh in September 2000 to host the hospital’s second gala that raised more than $1 million for cardiac care at Children’s.

The Jamie Lee Curtis Endowed Chair in Pediatric Transplantation was established to support and enhance Children’s world-renowned pediatric transplantation program. "We have been overwhelmed by Ms. Curtis’ support over the years," said Ronald L. Violi, Children’s president and CEO. "We are truly honored to call her a friend and to have the opportunity to recognize her for her efforts here at Children’s and toward keeping all children safe, happy and healthy."

The $1.5 million endowed chair, which was funded by the employees at Merrill Lynch and an anonymous donor, was awarded to Jorge Reyes, MD, chief of pediatric transplantation and co-director of Children’s Intestinal Care Center. Dr. Reyes plans to use the interest generated by the endowment to research and develop new ways of treating organ failure; new methods of transplantation; and improvements to pre- and post-transplant care.

As a devoted parent of two and a successful children’s author, Ms. Curtis’ concerns for children’s health, feelings and quality of life will be remembered forever through the Jamie Lee Curtis Endowed Chair in Pediatric Transplantation. "The motto on my husband’s family crest is 'Not for ourselves alone are we here,’" says Ms. Curtis.

EDITORS’ NOTE: Media are invited to a pre-gala press briefing hosted by Ms. Curtis at The Mall starting at 6 p.m. If interested in attending, please contact Mike Laffin by phone at 412-692-5016 or by pager at 412-572-0077.

Mike Laffin and Melanie Tush Finnigan,

Last Update
February 25, 2008
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Last Update
February 25, 2008