Chris Pine Kicks Off Make March Matter at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Earlier in the week, Natalie Portman, Ben Affleck and Rachel Zoe also pledged their support in CHLA's fundraising efforts.
Emmy-nominated actor Chris Pine, who is a “genuine and generous friend” of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, according to CHLA senior vp Alex Carter, on Monday morning helped kick off CHLA’s fourth annual Make March Matter campaign.
Before the speeches began in an intimate room at CHLA, Pine took the time to meet two current patients and the faces of the Make March Matter campaign: Kairi Ramirez, an 11-year-old CHLA patient with a chronic kidney disease, and 3-year-old CHLA heart patient Elliot Fletcher.
“He comes pretty quietly,” Dawn Wilcox, Make March Matter founder and vp Corporate Partnerships at CHLA, told The Hollywood Reporter about Pine’s CHLA hospital visits.
“A lot of celebrities that come and spend time here aren’t doing it for the publicity reasons — a lot of people don’t even know sometimes that they’ve been here," she said. "They just want to come through the back door and visit [patients] one-on-one.”
When asked what kind of impact these visits have on children, Wilcox told THR, it “offers a little respite.”
She continued, “It brings a smile to the child’s face and, quite honestly, impacts their parents at the same time. It gives the parents an opportunity to step away from all the medical challenges they might be dealing with and have a special moment with their child. Their child can feel like they’re not in the midst of something challenging, but rather escape that for a few minutes and know how special they are because the person has taken the time to come visit with them.”
The campaign kickoff started with speeches from Wilcox, CHLA ceo Paul S. Viviano and Carter, who then introduced Pine.
The Wonder Woman and Star Trek Beyond star, who is CHLA’s self-proclaimed “neighbor,” said that his visits are “undoubtedly the highlight of my month.”
“There’s obviously a lot of crazy things happening in this world. I find that there’s nothing more humane and human than caring for our children,” Pine said to the gathering. “To see hope on a child’s face is just about the most beautiful thing in the world. You can see it on their faces when you play with them in the recreation room, or visit them in the rooms with their parents, see them interact with the incredible staff, nurses, practitioners and doctors.”
The actor then assisted Ramirez up the stepping stool to the podium, opening her speech with the greeting, “Hello, my people,” making attendees including Pine laugh.
“It’s cool that celebrities care about little things like going to make a kid happy at the hospital,” Ramirez told THR. “There are a lot of people who can donate and if a lot of people donate, CHLA can have the funds to do a lot of things,”
Make March Matter aims to raise $1 million over this month. The amount will go toward CHLA’s Helping Hands Fund, which finances the “critical, lifesaving care to children regardless of their family’s financial status,” Wilcox told THR. The campaign proceeds also go toward the Child Life program, which is behind providing art, music, dance and pet therapy — programs insurance or government programs do not cover, she said.
“There’s something beautiful about seeing children of every race and creed and color and financial background, and the simple relativizing pillar is that they’re children,” Pine said during his speech. “They’re just children. It’s wonderful to be in a place that promotes love and care-giving above politics and all the rest of the B.S. in the world.”
This year, the campaign has garnered the help of more than 100 businesses for the first time. Events from these partners will be taking place all month long. One corporate sponsor, for example, Panda Express, will be donating in-store proceeds toward their local children’s hospital. Two-hundred of those stores are donating to CHLA, and associates in the Los Angeles area are even donating a portion of their paychecks to CHLA.
The full calendar is listed here.