Tommy Hilfiger Opens Up About His Commitment to Find a Cure for MS

Tommy Hilfiger - P 2015
Courtesy of BWR Public Relations

Tommy Hilfiger - P 2015

The designer, who will be honored with the Medal of Hope at Friday's Race to Erase MS gala, has always held the cause near and dear to his heart.

It's already been a banner year for Tommy Hilfiger, who's celebrating the 30th anniversary of his namesake line, and recently feted the opening of a Paris boutique. Come Friday, Hilfiger adds another milestone to the growing list: He's the Medal of Hope honoree at the 22nd annual Race to Erase MS gala in L.A.

Founded by Nancy Davis in 1993 following her own diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, the non-profit organization is dedicated to finding a cure for MS — a disease Hilfiger is all-too familiar with since his own sister's diagnosis. Since 1997, Hilfiger has been committed to the cause — one of a handful that he holds close to his heart and that has helped define his charitable work. "My parents instilled the idea of giving back and caring for others at a really young age," says Hilfiger, who credits his mother's involvement with the local church for instilling his innate sense for giving back and helping others.

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"I watched [my sister] really suffer, and I want to make a difference, and to do something to help find a cure," says Hilfiger, who has sponsored the gala's accompanying fashion show in years past. "I knew that by getting involved with Nancy Davis and Race to Erase MS, the money would go towards finding a cure. And it has." Last year's gala alone raised more than $1.75 million for the cause.

"[Tommy] has helped us raise tremendous funds to support groundbreaking MS research," adds Davis, who befriended Hilfiger more than 20 years ago at an MS fundraiser. "He is a true gentleman with a gigantic heart who defines the true meaning of charity and giving back. We would not have the incredible advances in MS therapies to stop the progression of MS without the iconic Tommy Hilfiger."

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Hilfiger admits that 2015 does feel like a special year on a personal level, even more so since he's started writing his autobiography, scheduled to hit shelves sometime next year. The book will delve into everything from Hilfiger's early childhood to present day, as well as the highs and lows of being in fashion today. "I really dug in this year and realized, we've done a lot over the last 30 years."