Jamie Lee Curtis to spark interest in Sparkle Gala

Jamie Lee Curtis photo by Andrew Eccles

The Shenandoah Community Health Clinic has announced that Jamie Lee Curtis will be its first-ever honorary chair of November’s Sparkle Gala at the Historic Mill in Edinburg.

Director of Resource Development Beth Westbrook Starnes said the film and TV star plans to help promote the Woodstock clinic’s 3rd Annual Holiday Sparkle Gala and Auction on Nov. 21.

“She is lending her name and her image,” said Starnes. Since the gala falls in the week of Thanksgiving, Starnes said it’s a longshot Curtis will attend.

“But she didn’t say no,” Starnes added.

Starnes met Curtis in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15 years ago when Starnes’ 13-year-old daughter Katie was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Curtis was chair of an event Starnes attended in Pittsburgh, and Starnes said they became fast friends.

“Katie lived another 18 months and then she passed away,” Starnes said.

She expected she and Curtis would fall out of touch, “however we have gone on to be good friends,” she said.

Curtis has starred in “True Lies,” “A Fish Called Wanda,” “Freaky Friday” with Lindsay Lohan and “Trading Places.” More recently she has appeared as Dr. Samantha Ryan on “NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service” and Joan Day, mother of Zooey Deschanel’s character on “New Girl.” She has filmed several episodes of the upcoming comedy/horror TV series “Scream Queens” with Lea Michele and Emma Roberts, Internet Movie Database reported at http://www.imdb.com.

An author of several best-selling children’s books, Curtis published her 10th in 2012, “My Brave Year of Firsts: Tries, Sighs, and High Fives.”

Curtis donated books for last year’s Sparkle Gala, and this year after viewing a virtual tour of the clinic that Starnes filmed, Curtis agreed to lend her name to the effort.

“In my wildest dreams I didn’t think she would say yes,” Starnes said.

Its biggest annual fundraiser, the Sparkle Gala includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and an auction. Last year, organizers added the first Festival of Trees — a sale of decorated Christmas trees that, in the weeks leading up to the gala, will adorn the front entrance areas of local businesses and organizations.

Starnes said she expects a combination of new and returning participants for the second annual Festival of Trees.

Other smaller fundraisers throughout the year help bring in about 80 percent of the clinic’s overall contributions, which Starnes said come mainly from community organizations, businesses, civic groups and generous individuals.

Curtis is on the board of trustees at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and has served on several other boards for health-related agencies.

“She’s always been someone who cares about health care,” Starnes said. “It’s just something she’s always been very passionate about.”

“She’s hoping that the community will open their hearts and open their wallets to support the clinic,” Starnes said. “That’s very important to her.”

For information about the Sparkle Gala, call 540-459-1700.

Photo is courtesy of photographer Andrew Eccles.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com