Race to Erase MS Gala Draws LL Cool J, Larry King, Jaime Pressly
Nancy Davis’ annual benefit also drew support from Diane Warren and Ashley Tisdale with a special performance from KISS.
While many celebs were flocking to the desert for Coachella, stars including LL Cool J, Randy Jackson, Diane Warrren, Naya Rivera, Larry King, Jaime Pressly, David Foster and Ashley Tisdale attended Nancy Davis' annual Race to Erase MS fundraiser toward finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.
For many stars, the event is personal because they knew someone who has been diagnosed with the disease. Jaime Pressly took the stage at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday night in front of a crowd including Garcelle Beauvais, Kat Graham, Frances Fisher and Kathy and Rick Hilton to give a special shoutout to actress Jamie Lynn Sigler, who wasn't able to attend the event, but recently shared she was diagnosed with the disease as well.
“It’s the tough thing to do when you are in the limelight to tell people what’s wrong, so kudos to her for telling us what’s right about MS and the fight and the Race to Erase MS, which we are all here for tonight raising money," said Pressly. "That’s the only thing celebrity is really good for. That and getting a table when you don’t have a reservation.”
The evening honored Carolyn Rafaelian, CEO of Alex and Ani, with the Medal of Hope award for her Charity by Design initiative, which has allowed the foundation to donate over $26 million to charitable organizations.
David Foster and Eric Benet kicked off the night of entertainment with a moving tribute to Natalie Cole, a frequent supporter of Race to Erase MS. Foster later took the stage again with The Voice winner Jordan Smith to perform. Randy Jackson introduced KISS, who rocked the crowd sans Paul Stanley (Jackson said the fourth member was undergoing surgery, but will recover in time for the group's summer tour) before all of the artists returned to the stage along with Clay Walker, BC Jean and Emblem3 to perform “Lean on Me,” a song that traditionally closes out Davis' show.
The annual benefit has helped raise significant funds toward supporting a "Dream Team" of doctors that have made advances in curing MS, including a new drug that Davis announced during the evening.
“When I was first diagnosed with MS 25 years ago, there was no cause, no cure, no drugs. Now there is finally going to be a drug that helps people with chronic and primary progressive MS," said Davis. "The 14th drug will get FDA approval before the end of the year. This is a life-changing situation.”
Davis’ gala has raised over $36 million for MS. Funds raised from the event will go towards the Center Without Walls program, established to bring together top doctors in an effort to find a cure for MS.