It was one of those rare events that will create memories for a lifetime.
A sold out crowd of more than 2,000 guests – including local families and children – and many of television and film’s biggest celebrities showed their support and celebrated the 16th annual Mattel Party on the Santa Monica Pier on Sunday, Sept. 27 and helped raise a record-breaking $1 million for Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.
Actress and Chief Mom of her new company Foodstirs, Sarah Michelle Gellar, welcomed guests and hospital patients to the star-studded event and played with the kids at mini-hoops and other games with long-time friend Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who attended the event with his family for a second year.
“This event helps us raise funds for all of our programs for disease research and for quality of life for our kids in the hospital,” said Kellye Carroll, Manager of the Chase Child Life Program for the Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. “It’s a great family friendly event. When the kids come to the hospital they are there for things that aren’t a lot of fun. So to be able to come out to the Pier today and participate in something that is all about play and all about fun is a wonderful opportunity for our families.”
Sponsored by Mattel, Inc., the fun-filled family day included unlimited rides and carnival games stocked with prizes donated by Mattel; arts and crafts such as face painting; photos with Barbie; and autographs from celebrity guests.
One of the many celebrity guests at the Pier that day was young actress Sophie Reynolds (“Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything”).
“I’m here to support this amazing event,” she said. “It’s so cool and I’m really excited to be here.”
Several other Disney stars also looked like they were having a great time supporting such a fun and worthy cause. They walked the Blue Carpet before going off to sign autographs and meet with the kids.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation hosted a Dodger-themed VIP area with lunch donated by Wolfgang Puck Catering. Dodger alumni signing autographs at the event included Tim Leary, Mickey Hatcher, Dennis Powell, Shawn Green and Lee Lacy.
A silent auction took place featuring items in travel, entertainment, fashion and arts, and sports. Some of the coveted sports items up for auction included Dodgers dugout tickets, a Lakers SuperFan Package, an autographed basketball by Magic Johnson, and autographed jerseys by current Laker star Nick Young and Chargers standout tight end Antonio Gates.
Also up for auction was featured original artwork from the popular cartoon, “The Simpsons.” David Silverman, the Emmy-winning director of “The Simpsons,” was one of the guests at the Pier and was presented with honorary title of “Doctor of Joy” in recognition of the joy he’s brought kids of all ages through his work in comedy.
Patient Sam Bathfield, who was diagnosed with Leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy and treatments at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, shared inspiring words to the crowd about the importance of funds for patients like himself and other children at the hospital.
Net proceeds from ticket sales and monies raised from the silent auction benefit Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. For the past 16 years, Mattel Party on the Pier has provided unrestricted funding to launch high-priority programs and support innovative research discoveries that benefit children being treated at UCLA and around the world.
Recent support has been directed to the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and gene-therapy programs, research on autism-related epilepsy and treatments to improve immune function for children who have undergone chemotherapy and bone-marrow transplants.
Click here to watch a video of the event.
For more information about Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA visit www.uclahealth.org/mattel.