Race to Erase MS Event Raises $2.1M

This year's Race to Erase MS — the 15th anniversary gala held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza here — raised $2.1 million for multiple...

LOS ANGELES — This year’s Race to Erase MS — the 15th anniversary gala held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza here — raised $2.1 million for multiple sclerosis research through the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis.

This story first appeared in the May 6, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

For the 12th year in a row, Tommy Hilfiger returned to sponsor the event, which featured a performance by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, as well as numbers from “Dancing With the Stars” cast members and also introduced orange as the new MS awareness color.

“Hollywood has always been tremendously supportive, and it’s a great way to mix this incredibly important cause with music and fashion,” Hilfiger said.

As in years past, the event’s highlight was a celebrity fashion show featuring Cheryl Ladd, Tara Reid, Maria Menounos, Daisy Fuentes, Terri Seymour, Disney’s Aly and AJ, Kelly Hu, Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin.

Stars and models strutted down the runway in Hilfiger’s spring collection, with more than a few of the participants hamming it up for the crowd: Rinna and Hamlin, who are husband and wife, adopted dance-inspired poses on their catwalk turn, and Ladd even struck her trademark “Charlie’s Angels” pose.

Actress Teri Garr, who has MS and uses a wheelchair, was able to walk onstage to give a moving speech that brought attendees to their feet.

“It’s just amazing what this foundation has done and to see what Teri has gone through,” Ladd said. “I think she’s a brilliant woman and amazing talent.”

Other celebrities like Devon Aoki, Kristi Yamaguchi, Marlee Matlin, James Tupper, Ed McMahon, Cristián de la Fuente, Jillian Barberie and Eric Benét turned out to support the cause at the gala — themed “We [heart] to Erase MS.”

Rinna joined returning auctioneer Tom Arnold for a live auction that featured luxury items including an afternoon of shopping with Paris and Nicky Hilton that went for $11,000 and a Maltese puppy that fetched $13,000.