March of Dimes Names Honorees for Hollywood Fund-Raising event to ‘Celebrate Babies’

March of Dimes Names Honorees for Hollywood Fund-Raising event to ‘Celebrate Babies’

March of Dimes, an organization focused on baby health and premature birth-related diseases like cerebral palsy (CP), recently announced the three 2016 honorees for the sixth annual March of Dimes “Celebration of Babies: A Hollywood Luncheon.”

This year’s event will take place Dec. 9 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

Honorees include Jennifer Hudson, the singer and actress who has won Grammy and Academy Awards; Jody Gerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music Publishing Group; and Mary Kerr, MD, board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist. All three will be recognized for their contributions to March of Dimes.

March of Dimes
Jennifer Hudson and Jody Gerson. Photo courtesy of Chris Floyd; photo agency Camera Press.

Jennifer Hudson will receive the 2016 March of Dimes Grace Kelly Award. Hudson rocketed to fame with her acting and singing career. She also has engaged in important philanthropic work, championing children, women’s rights and poverty worldwide.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized with the March of Dimes Grace Kelly Award,” Hudson said in a press release. “I’ve been privileged to have gone through a healthy pregnancy with my son, but I know it’s not like that for everyone. Having healthy and happy babies is every mother’s wish. But in the United States, premature birth is the number one cause of death of babies. I’m proud to support March of Dimes in their ongoing commitment to healthy pregnancies and families, striving for a world where every baby has a fair chance,” she said.

Jody Gerson will receive the 2016 Inspiring Woman of the Year Award for her accomplishments as a leader in the entertainment industry and as a mother. “I am delighted to be honored as the March of Dimes Inspiring Woman of the Year and represent working parents everywhere,” Gerson said.

Mary Kerr, a nationally recognized obstetrician and gynecologists and a national honoree for United Cerebral Palsy, will receive the 2016 March of Dimes Prematurity Champion Award for her dedication and special interest in caring for patients with high-risk pregnancies.

“I am thrilled to be receiving the March of Dimes Prematurity Champion Award,” Kerr said. “I witness the reality of pre-term births and infant mortality every day in my practice, and have seen an increase in late pre-term births, especially among black and Hispanic women. Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss,” Kerr said.

The Hollywood Luncheon will bring together celebrities and prominent individuals in the entertainment industry. Co-chairing the event will be Jimmy Horowitz, president of Universal Pictures, and his wife Joi Horowitz, along with producer Wyck Godfrey. Nick Cannon will be this year’s returning master of ceremonies.

March of Dimes has provided moms and babies with research, education, vaccines and other health resources for 75 years. You may participate in the March of Dimes’ signature fund-raising event, or share your story if you have been affected by prematurity or prematurity-related conditions, and to find support and an understanding community. Moreover, March of Dimes offers detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics and educational video resources.

The luncheon is the top fund-raising event for the organization, with a fund-raising record of more than $1.4 million in 2015. Since its launch in 2011, “Celebration of Babies” has helped raise nearly $5.7 million.