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Actor, writer and director Joel Edgerton hosted a fundraising gala on Wednesday night for The Fred Hollows Foundation, an Australian nonprofit that seeks to treat and prevent blindness around the world.
The event, held rooftop at The Highlight Room at The Dream Hotel, was the inaugural Los Angeles gala for the organization. Edgerton is an ambassador for the group and has been ever since an editor he worked with convinced him to go on one of the foundation’s trips.
“I finally had some time. I took a trip to Nepal, and then I took trips to regional Australia and had a look at the work they were doing,” Edgerton told The Hollywood Reporter. “I kind of got a little intoxicated by it because the work they’re doing is so immediate, it’s so present.”
Edgerton described seeing the doctors in action, performing hundreds of surgeries a day to restore the eyesight to those in rural areas, many of whom thought they had lost their vision for good and were unaware they had a disease. “I watched the cataract surgeries taking place in mountainous regions. Hearing about that work, seeing it on the ground is a different situation,” he said. “What I saw during those trips was really amazing.”
The focus of Wednesday night’s gala, presented by Casa Noble Tequila, was to raise awareness and funds for the foundation’s focus on treating trachoma, an infectious eye disease, in Africa. The event included a live auction to benefit The Fred Hollows Foundation, which is in its 26th year and now has a presence in 25 countries.
Among the gala’s attendees were Robert Pattinson, Sam Worthington, Adrian Brody, Ricky Martin, Jai Courtney, Camilla Belle and Paris Hilton. To start off the dinner, there was also a performance by Seal, accompanied by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Edgerton, known for his roles in Loving, Black Mass and The Gift, was joined by co-chairs Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Chris Pine, Kate Beckinsale and Pattinson.
“It’s a very intoxicating thing to see — to see old ladies and old men who’ve been blind for years suddenly see their grandchildren for the first time,” Edgerton added. “I got a little bit hooked and I went back again, and I’m sure I’ll go back again.”
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