June 24, 2011 10:00 AM by Ryan Haidet
You couldn’t ask for more out of a charity event featuring reality stars from Survivor, the Amazing Race, Big Brother and Ghost Hunters. For the eighth time, Kelly Jones and Matt Keith have delivered an amazing weekend in an effort to raise money for Kosair Charities in Louisville, Kentucky. On June 18, 2011, dozens of reality stars and various other celebrities descended on the Seelbach Hilton Hotel to meet with fans for a good cause. Check out the rest of this story for more about the event and to watch video from the main event!
Personally, this was my fourth time attending the event — and it has never failed to impress me. Jones and Keith are truly amazing with their ability to keep everything extraordinarily organized. On Saturday, prior to the main event, they kept the reality stars entertained with tours of the Muhammad Ali museum and the Louisville Slugger factory. The day before, all of their guests were treated to a private cruise on the Ohio River in a luxury boat before heading over to Churchill Downs for a night of excitement!
For the main charity ball, fans paid $50 and donated a jar of peanut butter for access inside where every reality star signed autographs and took photographs. There was also a silent auction featuring signed items from Ted Nugent, Christopher Meloni and many more.
In previous years the guest list of reality stars was enormous while this year’s was a bit more modest. Despite the smaller celebrity lineup, the event still attracted a huge crowd of excited fans.
I’ve expressed my feelings about how great this event has been every time I’ve attended it. So instead of me saying anymore, here are some thoughts from those involved.
Rodger Bingham of Survivor: The Australian Outback: “I’m in a unique position to do some charity events to help the people that maybe need a little help. I know a lot of this money goes to Kosair Hospital. I’ve been to Kosair Hospital when Survivor was over; went around and visited all the kids. I’ve been to about evey hospital in Louisville. I’ve Been to about every hospital in Cincinnati and Lexington, to be honest with you. You see people that are sick and a lot of them are little kids. Sometimes it just breaks your heart seeing kids in that shape. So I feel very fortunate, very blessed. I’m 63 and not on any medication — don’t take any medicine whatsoever. So I’ve been very blessed with my life health-wise. To see folks that are not that fortunate, and I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, so I’m always willing to do any type of charity event like this.”
Sandra Diaz-Twine — winner of Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains: “We enjoy coming because we like to give back. If we can give back by coming and making a small appearance, seeing the fans, signing autographs, taking pictures with them and making it easier for them to come and see us to give for a good cause, then to me, it’s worth it.”
Britt Griffith of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International: “I went through seven years of my life behind the camera — then all of a sudden I ended up in front of the camera. So for me, I get Hollywood. I don’t get starstruck, but I understand what a star can do to an event to raise money for a great cause like this Kosair Children’s Hospital charity that we’re doing. Granted, I know I’m a D-level reality, cable station star, but I’m having a lot of fun. There’s a lot of people having a lot of fun and I’m entertaining them, which will hopefully make them want to come back next year, donate more money, bid a little more on the silent auction and just have a damn good time so we can raise some money to help offset some of the costs for these childrens’ families. My God, I hear some of these staggering bills. $180,000 and they don’t have health insurance. How the hell are they gonna pay that? This particular cause is really geared toward reality — Survivor, the Amazing Race, Real World, (and) Ghost Hunters now — if we can band together as reality stars and make something great out of this and help a family out, help a child out, maybe get a child an extra five years on his life, well worth it.”
Andy Johnson — reality television fan: “It’s really nice that the firefighters and policemen can take time out of their day and do something like this ’cause it takes a lot of work to put this on.”
“Redneck” James Miller of Survivor: Palau: “I love helping people. I love charity events. Police, the state troopers and the firefighters they all deserve a helping hand. And if you give, it comes back to you.”
Hayden Moss — winner of Big Brother 12: “Being able to give back, it’s good; coming out, spending a little bit of my time out here. For one, they make it enjoyable. They took us to Churchill Downs; they put us up in the Hilton; we’re downtown in Louisville. So it’s fun, and an opportunity to raise money for a good cause. You can’t turn that down. I’m free, I might as well do something good with the time. So here I am.”
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