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 April 2

by Carolina

She asked, and they responded.

Lance Bass of NSYNC. Country star Rosanne Cash. Don Felder of The Eagles. Ziggy Marley. John Fogerty. Actress Andrea Barber of “Full House.” And many more celebrities and musicians.

They all said “yes” when Megan Maloney asked if they’d take part in the first fundraiser for her new children’s charity.

Never mind that the nonprofit The Charity Pro’s just started up last year. Never mind that they haven’t given out a single scholarship yet. And never mind that they’re based in Fort Myers — far away from Hollywood, Nashville and other celebrity hotspots.

They all wanted to participate in the virtual fundraiser Tuesday.

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Maloney was surprised by all the celebrities who signed up for the cause.  

“We were very happy with how many we were able to get,” she says. “That’s for sure.”

She didn’t even know if they’d respond, of course. And not everyone did.

She’d sent out about 100 emails to the management of celebrities known for their support of good causes — especially causes related to children and first responders.

Most declined or didn’t respond to the email. But more than a dozen agreed to record videos for Tuesday’s online event, The Charity Pro’s for Heroes. They either recorded short messages or musical performances.

The money raised Tuesday will help fund school scholarships for the children of healthcare workers and first responders who died from COVID-19. It will also help grant wishes for those children in a program called Megan’s Wish, including vacations, meetings with celebrities, toys and more.

“Obviously, the events of the last year have been devastating for everyone,” Maloney says. “There’s no one who hasn’t been affected at this point.

“But these children have lost their heroes — their true heroes. Their parents. … It really hurts our heart.”

None of the celebrities were made available for comment with The News-Press or the Naples Daily News. But in their video messages, they said good things about the cause.

“I want to give a shout-out to all the frontline healthcare workers and first responders and, of course, the heroes that gave their life protecting ours,” said Lance Bass of NSYNC. “If you’re home watching this, please help support the cause and these families and donate.”

Don Felder formerly of The Eagles had this to say: “To all the children that lost their mother or father to COVID: Your parent was a true hero to us all.

“Now please know that their sacrifice to keep us safe was the greatest gift that anyone could give. I know you’re all hurting, and we are hurting with you.”

Maloney — who works as a restaurant server when she’s not running the nonprofit — started The Charity Pro’s in January 2020 as a general charity for children. But then the pandemic hit and more than 550,000 people died in the United States.

Maloney’s dad, Brad Maloney, saw two friends die of COVID, including Naples firefighter Tony Christensen. Then they read an article in The Guardian about the children left behind after frontline workers die from the virus.

So they decided to change the focus of their charity.

“We started investigating it a little bit, and we were like, ‘Wow. I wonder if anybody is doing anything for these kids,’” says Brad Maloney, who serves as director of operations for the nonprofit. “And we found out, no. These companies are raising millions of dollars and donating it to COVID and masks and everything, but nobody’s done anything for these kids.”

Maloney and her father will host Tuesday’s streaming event and include live appearances from the charity’s other co-founders and also an Alabama girl whose father, a nurse, died of COVID-19.

Maloney says she’s grateful for all the celebrities and their support. But she’s particularly excited about Bass.

“Lance Bass is huge!” she says. “That was the big one. I was like, ‘Yes!’

“I was an NSYNC fan growing up. It was the first concert I ever went to.”

Celebrities who recorded messages for the event include Bass, Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, Kelly Hansen of Foreigner, Barber, Broadway singer Jawan Jackson and actor Danny Arroyo.

Then there are those who did short musical performances, including Roseanne Cash, John Fogerty, Ziggy Marley, Don Felder, Andy Grammer, country singer Tiera, Drew Baldridge and Estero’s own Ben Allen of “The Voice.”

The Charity Pro’s for Heroes event streams live on YouTube and Facebook at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Admission is free.

Learn more about the charity and the show at thecharitypros.org  or facebook.com/thecharitypros.

Connect with this reporter: Email crunnells@gannett.com or connect on social media at Charles Runnells (Facebook), @charlesrunnells (Twitter) and @crunnells1 (Instagram).

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Original posted at www.news-press.com

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