(Clockwise from upper left) Joan Hyler enjoys the moment as she accepts her Courage Award from
long-time friend, comedy-writer Bruce Vilanch; comedian/actor Jim Carrey mugs on the podium after
accepting his Rodney Respect Award; Jill Grey (left) and Edie Baskin Bronson were co-chairs of the
Visionary Ball; Tony Pritzker, managing partner of The Pritzker Group and recipient of a Visionary Award,
introduces Jim Carrey and his girlfriend, actress Jenny McCarthy, to two of his daughters; Tony Pritzker
accepts his Visionary Award; Dr. Neil Martin (left), W. Eugene Stern Chair in Neurosurgery, with Joan
Dangerfi eld, Tony Pritzker and Dr. David T. Feinberg, CEO of UCLA Hospital System and recipient of a
Visionary Award; Dr. David T. Feinberg expresses his appreciation for his Visionary Award and thanks
guests for making the event a sold-out success.
IN A CELEBRATORY EVENING
that was filled with touching moments, the appearance of entertainment executive Joan Hyler on the stage of the Department of Neurosurgery’s 2009 Visionary Ball to accept the first-ever Courage Award was one to remember.
Ms. Hyler has been fighting her way back to full recovery after she was hit by a speeding car while crossing Pacific Coast Highway last year. She was wheeled onto the stage at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel during the October 1 event to receive the award from her long-time friend, comedy-writer and multiple Emmy Awardwinner Bruce Vilanch, who spent many hours with her at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
. Leaning on Mr. Vilanch, she stood from her wheelchair to accept her award.
“We thought it was over when they brought her in,” Mr. Vilanch told the audience. “They wanted to amputate her legs. She wasn’t breathing on her own, wasn’t responsive. She had to learn to speak again and is now relearning to walk. It’s still an uphill climb, but at least she can climb.”
The Visionary Ball, co-chaired by Edie Baskin Bronson and Jill Grey, raises funds to help sustain the Department of Neurosurgery’s pursuits in research, teaching, patient care and public service. The event also honored Tony Pritzker, managing partner of The Pritzker Group, and David T. Feinberg, M.D., M.B.A., chief executive officer of UCLA Hospital System and associate vice chancellor, with Visionary Awards for their accomplishments and dedication to excellence in their respective fields. Actor/comedian Jim Carrey was the recipient of the Rodney Respect Award, presented by Joan Dangerfield, widow of comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield.
Another highlight of the event was a series of moving patient testimonials, including one from 32-year-old Brina Limon, who had a special story to share. At the last Visionary Ball, in 2007, Neil A. Martin, M.D., W. Eugene Stern Chair in Neurosurgery, was unable to attend because he was in the midst of a 16-hour surgery to save Brina’s life. This year, she glowed from her seat, telling the audience that thanks to Dr. Martin’s efforts, she was now well and enjoying life. The event, emceed by Tom Bergeron, Emmy Award-winning host of the hit TV show Dancing with the Stars, and with entertainment from fi vetime Grammy winner and former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, raised $1.84 million.