“It means a lot to my family,” Tommy Hilfiger said on the red carpet before accepting an award from the Race to Erase MS Gala held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles last week. “My sister has been affected by [multiple sclerosis]. She’s had a very difficult time for many years, but now there’s hope for medication to better the lives of many of the people who have it.”
The designer and his wife Dee Ocleppo were the first to arrive at host Nancy Davis’ annual affair, which has grown tremendously since its inception 22 years ago. “It started out as a very small event and now it’s probably one of the most important events in California and maybe the United States,” added the longtime supporter, who was presented by his daughter Ally and son Richard with the Medal of Hope award. “It’s progressing because they’re finding new medications and putting all these doctors together in such a healthy, intelligent way. There are people working together for a change in finding a cure.”
For Sharon, Kelly and Jack Osbourne, the family affair has become an equally personal tradition. “When I got diagnosed at 27, I was scared,” said Jack of going public with his private battle. “I thought it was a disease that people got much later in life. I couldn’t relate to anyone out there and I decided that not enough people were talking about it and that a lot of good could come from me not living in the shadows with it, so I decided to use my voice. It’s events like this that really help raise those dollars to fund the research.” Added his mother Sharon, “This evening means everything to me.”
Others on hand included Rita Ora, Ne-Yo, Paris Hilton, Rumer Willis, Anne Heche, James Tupper, Lydia Hearst, Francesca Eastwood, Frances Fisher, Tony Dovolani, Cheryl Burke, G. Hannelius, Carmen Electra, Aly and AJ Michalka, Camille Grammer, Lea Thompson and Lisa Vanderpump. Hilton said she’s been attending since she was a little girl. “It’s always an amazing evening, but I’m really excited for tonight. I love the performers. It’s going to be a fun night of music.”
Ora performed a four-song set. “Sing it with me,” she instructed the audience as she launched into her hit “Black Widow.” Then Ne-Yo closed out the night. “It’s a very serious situation and a very serious matter, but I feel like there’s definitely some fun to be had here,” he said. “I’m going to try to do my part to make sure everyone has as much fun as I’m going to have as I perform.”
The evening raised more than $1.7 million for the Center Without Walls program’s multiple sclerosis research.