Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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"How I Help"

(Excerpts) Published in Us Weekly, December 2-9, 2002

Reporting by Sharon Knolle

They camp with needy kids, volunteer in African AIDS shelters, rebuild firehouses, work to combat cancer. Now 13 heroic celebrities — who've truly given something to be thankful for — tell Us why

Denis Leary

Favorite Cause:
The Leary Firefighters Foundation (, started by the actor, 45, in 2000, raises money for equipment and training.

Why: "In 1999 there was a fire in my hometown of Worcester, Massachussetts, that killed six firemen, including my cousin. Sometimes it takes the worst circumstances for you to realize that something has to be done. For Christmas, we gave a big chunk of money to the widows of the New York City firefighters, but now our big mission is to upgrade facilities. New York's training facility, like others across America, is decrepit and old. Our New York City fundraiser was fashionable last year, but I want these guys to be fashionable in an evergreen way."

Stars and Their Causes

  • Angelina Jolie is a U.N. goodwill ambassador.
  • Elton John has raised more than $30 million for AIDS.
  • Ben Stiller stumps for Project A.L.S.
  • Drew Barrymore fights for animal rights.
  • Julia Roberts has testified before Congress for Rett syndrome.
  • Susan Sarandon fights against human-rights abuses.
  • Kelly Ripa stumps for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
  • Rosie O'Donnell's For All Kids Foundation funds programs for disadvantaged kids.
  • Paul Newman food products have raised $125 million for thousands of charities.
  • Bono brought attention to the effects of Third World debt.
  • Halle Berry assists domestic-abuse victims.
  • Eric McCormack was an AIDS Walk Los Angeles cohost.
  • Harrison Ford donated part of his ranch to preserve wildlife.
  • Faith Hill set up the Faith Hill Family Literacy Project.
  • Britney Spears founded a performing-arts camp for preteens.
  • Tori Amos started a 24-hour rape-victim hotline.
  • Tom Cruise helps raise funds for pediatric AIDS.
  • Justin Timberlake supports music education for kids.
  • Elizabeth Taylor was the founding chair for amFAR, an AIDS research group.
  • Bette Midler helped to clean up 75,000 tons of New York City garbage.
  • Nicole Kidman fundraises for Sydney Children's Hospital.