Responding to an urgent call for more research and care in battling an epidemic rise in Type 1 diabetes, The Carousel of Hope is the world’s premiere charity event benefiting diabetes. The event, hosted by Barbara Davis and presented by Mercedes Benz-USA, held its gala on Saturday, October 11, at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
The event has raised more than $77 million for the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, the country’s leading care and research center for type 1 diabetes, since its inception.
NBA legend and esteemed businessman Earvin "Magic" Johnson received “The Brass Ring Award” for his humanitarian efforts. The NBAs all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic’s teammates for 10 year and team mate who won five NBA World Championships’ presented Magic with his award.
Featured performers included Oscar and Grammy – winning artists Jennifer Hudson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and Josh Groban, while Jay Leno encored his role as Master of Ceremonies and David Foster and George Schlatter returned as music director and producer, respectively. After dinner and the live auction, Josh Groban started off the evening’s entertainment with renditions of “Cinema Paradiso,” and “You Raise Me Up.” Jennifer Hudson performed “Hallelujah,” and her hit “I’m Telling You.” Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds closed out the evening with songs including “When Can I See You Again,” and “Change the World.” Over 50 of Hollywood’s best, from Oscar winners Sidney Poitier, and Diane Keaton, to music giants Quincy Jones, Clive Davis and Natalie Cole, walked the gala’s red carpet.
Other guests included Ed Asner, Carol Bayer Sager, Candace Cameron Bure, Jackie Collins, Joan Collins, Billy Davis & Marilyn McCoo-Davis, Kat Dennings, Daisy Fuentes, Kathy Griffin, George Hamilton and Alana Stewart, Harry Hamlin & Lisa Rinna, Anjelica Huston, Andre Johnson, Beverly Johnson, EJ Johnson, Elisa Johnson, Lisa Johnson, Larry King, Michael Klein, Robert Loggia, Jon Lovitz, Kelly Lynch, Nigel Lythgoe, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Matthew Modine, Peta Murgatroyd, Michael Nouri, Jillian Rose Reed, Doris Roberts, Mimi Rogers, Karina Smirnoff, Suzanne Somers, Rod Stewart, Derek Theler, Alan Thicke, Jack Wagner, Brenda Vaccaro, Joan Van Ark, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Jack Wagner, Dee Wallace, Diane Warren, Raquel Welch, Vanna White, Syd Wilder, Bellamy Young, and many more.
For the sixth consecutive time, Mercedes-Benz was the presenting sponsor of the event. In one of the highlights of the evening Jay Leno hosted the live auctioning of a Mercedes-Benz 2015 S550 Coupe Edition 1 Launch Model. This vehicle is one of only 400 manufactured in the country. The final bid on the car was $170,000.
Mercedes-Benz also incorporated their Dive It Forward Program into the evening by donating one Teddy or Jessica Bear to a heroic child at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes for every person in attendance. In addition, Mercedes-Benz children’s pedal car signed by celebrities throughout the evening will be auctioned off after the event.
Another of the event’s top auction items was Heavenly Bora Bora Bliss Package, which included a romantic trip for two to Bora Bora. The trip was auctioned off for $60,000. Two tickets to Paris Fashion Week went for $20,000. Other major sponsors included Guess? Inc., American Airlines, The Beverly Hilton, St. Regis Resorts, and Tina & Rick J. Caruso.
The Patrón Spirits Company served as a sponsor of the event, and treated guests to a specially crafted cocktail, “The Pink Lady” in The Patrón Platinum Lounge. Patrón also added a new element of fun to the silent auction with the Patrón Photo booth, where guests were able to capture the evening in a memorable and unique way.
Since its founding 37 years ago by Marvin and Barbara Davis, The Carousel of Hope has raised over $75 million on behalf of the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes in Denver, Colo. Over 7,000 children and adults with type 1 diabetes from around the globe visit regularly for specialized care. The Center also cares for patients with type 2 diabetes. Both forms of the disease are increasing at an epidemic rate. In 2014, the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes was ranked #1 in the world for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Care by Expertscape, and the Center’s research programs are world-acclaimed. For more information please visit www.childrensdiabetesfoundation.org or www.BarbaraDavisCenter.org.