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Cannon, who first found fame on early Nickelodeon hits like All That, Kenan & Kel and The Nick Cannon Show, also started his work with Make-A-Wish during that time, telling The Hollywood Reporter that, “my first Make-A-Wish experience was through Nickelodeon and I’ve been working with them for decades. Whenever Make-A-Wish calls, I answer.”
Partnering with the charity, which makes a dream or “wish” come true for children with critical illnesses, has allowed Cannon to reflect on his own health struggles and battle with lupus, which he was diagnosed with in 2012.
“When you get in the room with some of these wish kids, it just puts everything in proper perspective for you,” the former America’s Got Talent host told the audience inside the Los Angeles event. “As someone who’s been diagnosed with a serious illness as well and being able to connect with these kids, and they tell me their stories and I tell them my story and we talk about everything from boring hospital visits to being excited about life, it really touches me every single time.”
Aside from Nickelodeon, which was celebrated for fulfilling hundreds of wishes for children though TV show set visits, Kids Choice Awards tickets and amusement park trips, chef Gordon Ramsay was also honored for his support of the foundation. Earlier this year, Ramsay teamed up with Make-A-Wish to grant wishes for 32 children in just one day.
The famed chef appeared via video message to accept his award, saying that working with the kids “highlight my day, and to change that doom and gloom and give them a time to have some fun, making the most incredible scrambled eggs or cooking a Beef Wellington, literally makes my year.”
The gala, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, also included performances by Boyz II Men and OneRepublic, with frontman Ryan Tedder getting in on the charitable spirit. After numerous high-profile items had already been auctioned off, including World Series tickets, a set visit to The Flash and vacations to Maui and Jamaica, Tedder offered up a copy of Paul McCartney’s latest album Egypt Station, signed by the former Beatle himself. The OneRepublic singer worked as a producer on McCartney’s 2018 LP, and sold the album for $3,000 for Make-A-Wish, serving as an amateur auctioneer by taking bids from the audience. Tedder also dedicated his performance of hit I Lived to “all of those hours I spent watching Nickelodeon growing up.”
The event raised over $1 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is celebrating its 35th year.
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