Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 | 2:29 p.m.
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Celine Dion on Good Morning America
Superstar singer Celine Dion enlisted the help of her fellow Caesars Entertainment headliners in a $1 million bid for her children’s sickle-cell-research benefit concert “Play Without Pain” on Sunday night to jump start close-to-the-cure clinical trials.
Husband and manager Rene Angelil and Celine welcomed 150 of the well-heeled donors and the amazing doctors of Children’s Hospital Boston backstage at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace for a meet-and-greet and photo session. The couple then donated the entire proceeds of her special 4,200-seat performance to the fundraiser.
“As a mother, I was incredibly moved by the stories that were shared with me regarding the impact this disease has on children. This benefit is a way in which I can get involved to positively touch these children’s lives,” Celine said. “Your compassion and kindness could be the tipping point in helping researchers eradicate the disease and bring relief to millions across the globe. The funds we raise will allow these children to grow up pain free and lead longer, more productive lives. Our prayer is they grow up to play without pain.”
Chef Guy Savoy flew from Paris, France, to serve a four-course feast at his namesake restaurant in Caesars Palace for the charity’s supporters. The menu: artichoke and black truffle soup, turbot and black truffle Mousseline, Beef Wellington and chocolate fondant. Caesars Palace executives Gary Loveman and Gary Selesner and AEG chief John Nelson were among the attendees.
During Celine’s performance, there was added poignancy when photographs of children battling the disease were presented onscreen as she sang. Agassi Prep Academy graduate A.J. Green, who fights sickle-cell anemia, was a special guest of Celine and Gary Loveman, a trustee on the board of the hospital, which is regarded as a premiere U.S. leader in research and children’s genetic diseases. He also matched every dollar raised at the event up to $250,000.
Post-show, there was a party and auction at nearby Pure. Fellow Caesars resident headliner Rod Stewart donated an autographed soccer ball, Rio headliners Penn & Teller private magic lessons for a winning bidder, and Flamingo headliners Donny and Marie Osmond, Holly Madison of “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood, Flamingo headliner comedian George Wallace, “Jersey Boys” at the Paris, “Ka” at MGM Grand, “Jubilee!” at Bally’s, “Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian, Imperial Palace headliners Human Nature and “Absinthe” at Caesars VIP experiences. George Maloof and the Palms and Cirque du Soleil’s Guy Laliberte also contributed to Celine’s extraordinary event.
Doctors affiliated with the hospital revealed that they are close to discovering life-enhancing therapies to treat sick-cell anemia and are on the cusp of a cure. The $1 million Celine’s event raised will enable the start of clinical trials in completing the research and also increase awareness about its impact. Celine supports more than a dozen children’s medical causes.
After our New Year’s Eve exclusive interview with Celine about her twins’ first steps and Rene’s role in a new summer Mafia movie, she filmed a segment for “Good Morning America” last week.
All of us at Vegas DeLuxe extend “Happy Birthday” wishes to Rene, who celebrates his 70th birthday today. Dr. Matthew Heeney, Dr. Stu Orkin, Dr. Gary Fleisher and Dr. Dave Williams were among the physicians who met Celine last night and wished Rene birthday greetings.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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