Doctors at Children’s Hospital Boston are just another step closer to securing a cure for sickle cell disease thanks to a little help from some superstar friends.
More than $1 million was raised in support of their research efforts on Sunday, Jan. 15 during the “Play Without Pain: Children’s Sickle Cell Benefit,” a partnership with international megastar Celine Dion, Caesars Entertainment, AEG Live and Children’s Hospital Boston.
Held at Caesars Palace, the evening included a performance of Celine Dion’s glamorous show directed by Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich, including a touching tribute to sickle cell victims during her rendition of Billy Joel’s “Lullabye.”
“As a parent, I’ve been touched by the stories that were shared with me about the impact sickle cell anemia has on millions of children around the world,” said Dion. “We know that doctors with Children’s Hospital Boston are very close to discovering life-saving treatments for these children, and I wanted to help. No child should have to live a life filled with pain and, hopefully, tonight’s benefit show moves us one step closer to ending their suffering.”
Sickle cell disease is a debilitating condition that causes excruciating pain, organ failure, stroke and early death. It is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States, affecting 100,000 Americans and the number of sufferers is in the millions worldwide.
Affected populations are mainly of African descent, but the disease also strikes individuals of Hispanic, Mediterranean and Caribbean heritage. And its treatment is costly: an estimated $1.1 billion a year in the U.S. alone.
In the picture above: Mrs. Green, Dr. Matthew Heeney, Dr. Stu Orkin, Gary Loveman, singer/songwriter A.J. Green, Celine Dion, Dr. Gary Fleisher and Dr. Dave Williams pose for photos backstage at Caesars Palace on Jan.15, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV.