Revolutionary magician Criss Angel is about to embark on the most important cause of his life: raising money in search of a cure for pediatric cancer.
"Every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer and that's a crazy statistic we have to make disappear," Angel said.
Long before Angel's son, now 2 years old, was diagnosed with cancer, Angel felt a connection to pediatric cancer patients, often giving them his personal cell phone number so they could call him whenever they needed to talk.
"These kids should be out there playing and laughing — not dealing with life and death," he said.
A recipient of the Make-A-Wish Granter of the Year Award and the Chris Greicius Celebrity Award, Angel will soon be granting his 50th wish with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. While there's no doubt Angel is making a difference in these children's lives, he admitted that he often gets more out of the experience than the children because they help to put things in perspective.
"They really appreciate every moment they have and that shines a light on what's important," Angel said.
Angel has set the "ambitious goal" of
$1 million for his first HELP fundraiser and hopes to turn it into an annual televised event — a modern-day version of a telethon to supplement the amount of money that goes directly to pediatric cancer research. Whether or not he's successful, Angel said he won't waver in his commitment to one day eradicate pediatric cancer once and for all.
"I truly feel that this is my calling," he said. "We've got an incredible evening of entertainment planned and it's all for a good cause. People are going to see something they'll never be able to see again and do something to really help change these kids' lives."
What's Up Angel's Sleeve?
The HELP fundraiser will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 with a silent auction and gold carpet arrivals. The show will begin at 7 p.m., featuring a live auction and a real "who's who" of stars.
Hosted by singer Tony Orlando, the two-hour benefit will include appearances and performances by comedians Jerry Lewis and Howie Mandel; actors Gary Oldman and Miles Brown; music legends Gene Simmons and Richie Sambora; athletes Mike Tyson and Chuck Liddell; fellow Las Vegas headliners Carrot Top and Wayne Newton; and many others. Siegfried and Roy will also be on hand to introduce one of the acts and Andrew Dice Clay will read a nursery rhyme. Naturally, Angel will perform some of his jaw-dropping illusions as well.
Many of Las Vegas' top performers have donated priceless experiences and memorabilia that will be up for bid at both auctions, including a weekend stay at Angel's personal estate. For those who can't make the event, select items will be open to bid online.
Tickets to HELP start at $50, with VIP packages also available. Visit crissangelhelp.com for more details