Usher, Sugar Ray Leonard Help Raise Over $1M for Type 1 Diabetes Research
"We're going to find a solution. We're going to fight this. We're going to figure it out,” Usher said at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund's Imagine Gala.
Usher, Sugar Ray Leonard, Brec Bassinger, Hailee Steinfeld and James "Jimmy Jam" Harris were among the stars who stepped out on the red carpet Saturday for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund’s Imagine Gala.
The event, which took place at the Beverly Hilton, raised over $1 million in support of the research JDRF funds to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.
Usher spoke at the event about how Harris had reached out to him to perform at the gala. The singer-songwriter added, though, that he felt much more compelled to do more and speak to the audience since his son was diagnosed at the age of 5 with T1D.
“I now live with that reality — the agony of what I have to deal with alone. I feel like I’m a disappointment to my child,” said Usher. “If he’s too high, is it something that I did? Is it something I could have done better?”
Harris’ son Max was honored at the event as someone who motivates other kids and teens with the disease to live their lives as normal as possible. He continues to be active by playing sports, despite having been diagnosed with T1D at the age of 2. Now 17, Max serves as an inspiration to anyone who feels that they are limited due to diabetes.
Bassinger, also 17, has lived with T1D for almost 10 years, but didn’t fully understand what big changes were going to happen at the time. At the event, the young actress spoke about how she was able to overcome the hardships with the support of her family.
“[Don’t] get down about it. Everyone has their struggles in life, and one of yours just happens to be diabetes. You can do anything you set your mind to,” Bassinger told The Hollywood Reporter about what she would tell anyone going through the same battle.
Later in the evening, guests were invited to participate in a live auction, which included tickets to basketball games, visits to movie sets and even a Chihuahua. Usher and Leonard split the $50,000 for the puppy, but ultimately gave it to the guests who bid against them.
Leonard has his own foundation that raises funds and builds awareness for both type 1 and 2 diabetes research. “We all need to come together collectively. Because one day I would love to hear that it’s no more — that it’s been knocked out," the boxing great said.
Andra Day gave the night's opening performance, and Steinfield closed out the night with a few songs, including her hit, “I Love Me.”
Rabbi Harvey J. Fields was also an honoree of the evening as the recipient of the Spirit Award.