On Friday, May 2, host, MS survivor and advocate Nancy Davis welcomed guests to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza for the 21st Annual Race to Erase MS.
The event raised over $1.75 million to benefit the Race to Erase MS and its Center Without Walls program, a collaboration of top MS research centers working together as a team on ground-breaking research to treat and ultimately cure MS.
Celebrity guests at this year’s event included host Nancy Davis, honoree Dean Singleton, presenters Jordin Sparks, Shaun Robinson, Keegan Allen, Shemar Moore and Randy Jackson, performers CeeLo Green, Natalie Cole and Steven Tyler, along with guests Jack Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne, Alessandra Ambrosio, Garcelle Beauvais, Cheryl Burke, Frances Fisher, Daisy Fuentes, Cody Simpson, Eva LaRue, Jon Lovitz, Howie Mandel, Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin, Zoey Deutch, Lea Thompson, David Osmond, Loni Anderson, Lindsay Arnold, Thora Birch, Tamera Mowry-Housley, George Hamilton, Jack Huston, Christine Devine, Tony Dovolani, Carmen Electra, Clementine Ford, Candace Cameron Bure, Teri Garr, Tommy Hilfiger, Cobi Jones, Bridgit Mendler, Johnathon Schaech, Crystal Reed, Holland Roden, Barry Sloane, Karina Smirnoff, Anna Trebunskaya, Byron Allen, Allison Baver, Laura Vandervoort, Avan Jogia, Beth Littleford, Francesca Capaldi among others.
Jordin Sparks opened the night’s remarks, and spoke about the work Davis’ Race To Erase MS and Center Without Walls programs, and their countless achievements in their 21 years, including work on the nine FDA approved drugs, that are currently on the market today. Davis then took the stage to generously thank those that made the night possible, and encouraged those that join the fight against MS to remain hopeful for a cure. Davis’ dear friend and Entertainment Tonight correspondent, Shaun Robinson, spoke about this year’s Medal of Hope recipient, Dean Singleton’s, inspirational spirit and resilience to not let this disease keep him down. Singleton expressed his thanks and stated that if a cure is eventually found to reverse the effects of the disease, “it will be because of Nancy Davis and Race To Erase MS’ work.”
Loni Anderson, who recently shared her story about her daughter, Deidra’s battle with MS, was also in attendance. Loni’s grand-daughters, McKenzie and Megan, have taken the initiative to help their mom in her quest to erase MS and are participating in Race To Erase MS’ Virtual Race. The online program empowers people from all over the US to join in the Race to Erase MS by raising funds online through their network with the opportunity to earn tickets to the annual Gala event. The actual race is taking place May 10th in Reading, CA.
The 21st Annual Race to Erase MS included a live auction called by Howie Mandel and last year’s Medal of Hope recipient, Jack Osbourne, during which lucky bidders walked away with items including a week-long stay at the Hilfiger estate on Mustique Island, a dinner for up to 20 people by Mr. Chow including flowers by Marks Garden, a tropical escape to the St. Regis Bora Bora and a dinner with the Osbourne family at the Soho House. Siblings, Kelly and Jack Osbourne started a bidding war for a Mexican vacation, that Kelly eventually outbid Jack on, for $6,000. Jack walked away with his own auction item though, a trip to Rome for two. The big item of the night was a Bespoke Aston Martin Vanquish, commissioned by the Osbourne family, which went for $230,000. Pretty Little Liars star Keegan Allen went on stage to encourage the audience to donate $5 to Race To Erase MS by texting “ERASEMS” to 20222.
Race to Erase MS continued its legacy of incredible musical performances this year, including CeeLo Green who opened the show, and rocked out to his hit “Forget You.” Longtime Race To Erase MS supporter, Shemar Moore, introduced music legend Natalie Cole, while sharing with the audience that his date for the night was his mother, an MS survivor. Cole graced the stage to sing “Everlasting Love,” and a medley from her latest CD Natalie Cole en Espanol, which included “Oye Como Va.” Finally, Grammy Award-winning artist and musical icon Steven Tyler was introduced by friend and fellow American Idol judge, Randy Jackson, and sang an incredible five-song set which included Tyler and Aerosmith’s best hits “Walk This Way,” “Cryin’,” and “Jaded.” Tyler spoke about his admiration for his musical inspiration, Nat King Cole, and Natalie Cole joined Tyler on the stage for an impromptu duet of Aerosmith’s “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” a truly unique moment. Tyler then closed the set with a moving rendition of “Dream On.”
In what has become a Race to Erase MS tradition over the past 21 years, an uplifting rendition of “Lean On Me,” was performed as the finale of the evening, led by Tyler and Cole and who were joined on stage by Nancy Davis, Randy Jackson, Keegan Allen, David Osmond, nephew of Donny and Marie and an MS survivor, and more.
Each guest received a coveted Race to Erase MS gift bag, enjoying such items Alex and Ani jewelry, pashmina and a Pack It freezable personal cooler to name a few.
The evening was generously sponsored by Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Associated Television International and Aston Martin.
Race to Erase MS is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure for MS. Funding research is the core focus of the foundation and significant strides have been made to find the cause and cure of this debilitating disease. At the event’s inception 21 years ago, the absence of medications and therapies encouraged its involvement; As a result, the Race to Erase MS has contributed to seven of the nine currently FDA approved medications, providing hope and encouragement for those who suffer with MS. Most recently, the FDA approved the BG-12 (dimethyl fumarate) drug, which will revolutionize MS treatments. While most MS medicines are daily or weekly shots, BG-12, developed by Biogen Idec, exists as one of the first safe oral drugs to help stop the progression of MS with very few side effects.
All funds raised support our Center Without Walls program, a unique collaboration of the world’s leading MS research scientists currently representing Harvard, Yale, Cedars Sinai, University of Southern California, Oregon Health Science University, UC San Francisco and Johns Hopkins. This nationwide collaboration of physicians, scientists and clinicians are on the cutting-edge of innovative research and therapeutic approaches to treat MS. It is the hope of the Race to Erase MS that in addition to combating MS through research in a clinical environment, awareness will be created by educating the public about this mysterious disease.