Hollywood stars raise funds for poor kids with medical needs

By Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Nov 13 2012 05:45 PM | Updated as of Nov 14 2012 01:45 AM

LOS ANGELES, California – Several Hollywood stars have come together to support an organization that helps children in need of medical help.

Among those who benefited from the assistance of Hollywood stars through the organization Mending Kids International (MKI) was a girl from Cebu who was brought to America to undergo facial operation.

Mery Lou Barriga was born with a facial cleft. Her mother said she went through a difficult time, particular in school, where her classmates teased her and even threw rocks at her.

But in 2009, with the help of donors, Mery Lou received medical treatment and after a year and several operations, she went home to the Philippines happy.

Now, Mery Lou is back in the US, but this time, to personally thank those who helped her.

MKI helps children from poor families around the world get the medical operation they need. Among the stars that support the organization is Madeleine Stowe of the television show “Revenge” and actor Simon Baker of “The Mentalist”.

“I grew up with a very ill father so I knew what it meant for him to have access to healthcare,” said Stowe.

Baker said “the positive side is we could bring attention to positive groups and organization."

Filipino-American stars also support the organization.

“Anything to help kids, we're there,” said Mark Dacascos, Fil-Am star of Hawaii 5-O.

Nia Peeples of “Pretty Little Liars” meanwhile said, “These guys are fantastic!”

During the fundraising gala, the group also recognized the contribution of the Philippine Airlines Foundation.

The group has organized a medical team in Manila to help more poor children.

“We invest in saving children in the Philippines a total amount of about a hundred thousand a year. The hundred thousand dollars goes a long way, like this year, its 56 kids,” said Glenn Dabatos, board president of MKI.

But for children with more complicated medical needs like Mery Lou, the group flies the patients to the US for treatment.