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Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional monologue about his son’s open heart surgery just three days after he was born has now been viewed more than 9 million times on YouTube. And the hospital where little William “Billy” Kimmel was treated — nonprofit institution Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which was on the receiving end of major praise from the late-night host — has also experienced a windfall in the form of calls and donations as a result of Kimmel’s viral monologue.
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ president and CEO Paul Viviano spoke to ABC News on Thursday. (Kimmel’s talk show airs on ABC.)
“We have literally had several hundred calls, maybe more than 1,000 calls to our center … and we have had some donations as well,” he said. “We are still sort of wading through what that is, but there has been a notable spike in interest in our heart center, in our programs, the surgical team that provided this high-quality care [for Kimmel’s son]. … A lot of calls have come from questions about personal health to ‘Can we support what you do?'”
Also during the chat, Viviano applauded Kimmel for using his platform to discuss the medical scare. “It was a marvelous thing that he did; it takes a lot of compassion and poise to talk about such a challenging personal situation,” said Viviano. “His son is obviously doing well and it’s a great story, and his advocacy for coverage of pre-existing conditions for children and access to care for all children … that’s wonderful for very deserving children.”
During Monday’s monologue, Kimmel revealed his second child with wife Molly McNearney was born with a heart defect that required surgery. Their son is expected to have additional procedures throughout his life.
It’s unclear how much money CHLA raised on donations, but activity on the hospital’s donation page online clearly hit a peak. Shortly after Kimmel’s announcement, the page crashed. A message greeted visitors that the site was “currently unavailable” even later, on Tuesday morning.
“Children’s Hospital Los Angeles provides care through hundreds of thousands patients visits each year across 350 pediatric specialty areas,” said Viviano in a statement, released to THR on Thursday. “Thanks to Mr. Kimmel’s kind words on Monday evening about the care his son received at CHLA, we have seen a large outpouring of support from our local community and from across the country, for which we are incredibly thankful. We are thrilled that Billy is now at home and recuperating with his family.”
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