Disney Salutes Starlight Children’s Foundation’s 20th Anniversary

BURBANK, Calif. – As part of its ongoing community outreach program, Disney will host more than 500 children and their families on Saturday, Feb. 22, at The Walt Disney Studios lot at a 20th anniversary celebration for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

In attendance at the celebration will be Jim Belushi and Larry Joe Campbell from ABC’s “According to Jim” and Kaley Cuoco, Amy Davidson and Martin Spanjers from ABC’s “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.” Belushi and Campbell will present an initial donation of $10,000 to Starlight for its “Hospital Happenings” program, which provides parties for children during their hospital stays.

“Working with organizations like Starlight that are dedicated to helping children and their families has been a long-standing Disney tradition, and we are proud to assist, raise awareness and encourage people to get involved with these groups,” said Robert Iger, president and COO of The Walt Disney Company.

“The biggest bonus of my job is being part of great events like this, paying tribute to people who volunteer their time and energy to real people with real needs,” Belushi said. “At Disney, it’s more than just fantasy and imagination, there’s a terrific commitment to giving something back, especially to children. For me, as a father of three, that’s a big deal.”

The Starlight Children’s Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration marks one of the first in a series of events from Disney and Starlight this year. These events began in early February with a five-city tour during which Disney characters will have visited six children’s hospitals in Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago by the beginning of March. These visits are a precursor to a project between Disney and Starlight that will begin in 2004 in which Disney products, including videos, games and toys, will be delivered to the 250 children’s hospitals across America.

“Today, Starlight’s in-hospital and outpatient services benefit more than 100,000 children each month. Through Disney’s generosity, our collaborative outreach program, which launches next year, will help us reach out to even more children, providing entertainment to combat the isolation and anxiety that accompany a hospital stay,” said Starlight’s Executive Director Katherine Culpepper.

The relationship between Disney and Starlight is administered by DisneyHand, the worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company, and is supported by the ABC Television Network’s ABC: A Better Community public service campaign.

ABC: A Better Community is designed to be the most comprehensive and recognizable public service initiative on television. The centerpiece of the campaign is a series of public service announcements that offer pro-social messages along with specific calls to action and feature ABC stars, who also volunteer their time and talents to charitable events.

DisneyHand is dedicated to making the dreams of families and children a reality through public service initiatives, community outreach and volunteerism in the areas of learning, compassion, the arts and the environment. The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified, international family entertainment and media enterprise which includes Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, The Walt Disney Studios, ABC, Inc., ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Stores, television and radio stations and Internet web sites. For more information on Disney’s corporate public service efforts, please visit our Web site at www.disneyhand.com

Starlight was founded in Los Angeles in 1983 by a group of Hollywood professionals who believed in the healing power of entertainment. In the past 20 years, the non-profit has grown into an international organization with six core programs designed to provide fun, respite, and a sense of community for seriously ill children and their families.

Starlight is an international non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families. Working with more than 1,000 hospitals worldwide, the Foundation provides an impressive menu of both in-hospital and outpatient programs and services. A leader in delivering distractive entertainment, Starlight benefits more than 100,000 children each month. For more information, go to www.starlight.org.