Last week’s Call-a-Thon fundraiser exceeded the $1 million goal that friends of Miracle producer Gordon Gray hoped to reach to continue progress on the experimental gene therapy that so far has arrested the progress of the Batten Disease CLN6 in his older daughter Charlotte. The 5-year old received the treatment in March, and Gray said it stopped a deterioration of motor and verbal skills that are the telltale signs of the disease.
The event was held last Thursday at CAA headquarters to benefit the Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray Foundation to Cure Batten Disease, and a lot of heavyweights either donated or called everyone they knew to elicit donations. Among those who gave generously, according to the foundation, were Ben Affleck, Mariah Carey, Kevin Costner, Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Matthew McConaughey, Chris Pratt, Molly Sims and Renée Zellweger. The four-hour phone fundraiser was hosted by Marty Bowen, Michael De Luca, Scott Stuber and Rick Yorn, and call-a-thon dialers who reached out to their extensive Rolodexes included Pratt, Sims, Pam Abdy, Beau Flynn, Scott Greenberg, Basil Iwanyk, David Kramer, Tania Landau, Tracy Maltas, Gavin O’Connor, Brett Ratner, Scott Rosenberg, Shannon Rotenberg and Risa Shapiro.
Gray told Deadline last week that the money was needed by this month to continue producing the treatment, as other children with the disease are being brought into the program. The foundation has raised millions of dollars since it was established in 2015 by Gray and wife Kristen after their girls were diagnosed with the rare disease the parents were told would be fatal. The treatments are expensive, but the foundation reports that great progress has been made in funding what is the first human gene therapy of its kind, an investigational clinical trial at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH. The eyes of the medical community continue to be on this effort, but more money will be needed down the line to continue toward what Gray hopes will be a cure that might help solve other rare childhood brain diseases. Those who want to donate can do so at www.curebatten.org.