Celebrities Volunteering and Giving Back – Johnny Depp
Once again, Tim Burton has successfully exploited Johnny Depp for his recent film, Dark Shadows—a horror comedy-drama based on 1960s gothic horror opera. Of course, as a fan who is constantly thanking god for Johnny Depp’s existence, I rushed to the theatre on its release date. Despite the typical withered and pallid look of vampire that Tim Burton likes to put on him, Johnny Depp looked like the most beautiful and glorious corpse on this earth. I could not help but run wild with my imagination. How wonderful this world must be to be wedded to Johnny Depp? Oh how lucky Lori Allison is! Is it just me that thinks he is possibly the most beautiful human being in this world? You may think I’m judging a book by its cover. Well, yes I am and I’ll tell you why.
1. Jack Sparrow and his surprise visit to children.
When Depp’s 8-year-old daughter, Lily-Rose was hospitalized, Depp and Vanessa Paradis put their lives to hold. They had to bring production of his movie Sweeney Todd to a standstill. Lily’s E.coli poisoning led to the failure of her kidneys. “To say it was the darkest moment, that’s nothing,” Johnny Depp spoke to a reporter from Entertainment Weekly, “It doesn’t come close to describing it. Words are so small.” When his daughter finally recovered, Depp decided to devote his time and money to do good works for children’s hospital.
The Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Lily had her surgery, specializes in the most life threatening conditions, regularly treating 150,000 patients a year. Unfortunately, it is not receiving enough funding from the government and the children at the hospital would rely on public donations for their on-going treatment. Depp donated a pledge of $1.96 million for the redevelopment of two-thirds of the hospital site. Following his donation, he visited the hospital himself and spent a day in a Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow’s costume to read bedtime stories to the young patients. For a father who understands the hardship that a family goes through for a child’s suffering, Depp understood the importance of supporting the young patients both financially and emotionally. Even after his donation, he would drop in unannounced, always dressed as a pirate.
2. Johnny Depp’s gift for children in need of support
In 2005, Barry and Sarah Westwood’s son, Mark—a huge fan of Johnny Depp, was diagnosed with a tumor. He underwent three operations to remove the malignant growth, which were futile. He mostly spent his time in the Alder Hey Hospital, the biggest and the busiest children’s hospital in Europe. Spending all day at the hospital to take care of their son, Mark’s parents befriended a couple was also had a son with cancer. After watching a movie Pirates of the Caribbean, which Mark was fanatical about, Barry and Sarah discovered that their new friends were acquaintance of Johnny Depp. A few days later, Mark received a personal video message from Johnny Depp. Delighted by an unexpected surprise, Mark had one of best moments of his life. On January 2007, Mark passed away. After his death, Barry added “Mark did so many special things during his life and we have a lot of people to thank.” By sending a cheerful message to one who really needed it, Johnny Depp bettered Mark’s life.
Johnny Depp is also an active member of ‘sophies gift’, which helps the children in coma by using celebrity’s personal video to patients. Andrew Wilkinson, the father of a child in coma, initiated this project and started recording as many different voices as possible to make sure that coma patients will improve. “When someone is in a coma, it’s important to find that key to unlocking them out of the coma,” said Alison Wilkinson. “It could be a smell, a sound, or a voice. In Sophie’s case, we knew she was a huge fan of Johnny so we thought that if she heard his voice it may wake her. We realized what a great idea it would be to have a bank of celebrity voices reading out specific commands that the doctors have issued.” The couple showed their appreciation for Johnny Depp. “We were over the moon when Johnny Depp agreed to record a tape, and now more stars are signing up, it’s fantastic. Now that Sophie is showing signs of responding to certain voices it’s the critical time to get her listening to as many different voices as possible” Johnny Depp supporting this couple until the initiation of a project, in which several of the top celebrities are now members of.
3. Johnny Depp’s Angels
While Johnny Depp engages in volunteer activities to better the children, his angels are also working hard. Johnny’s Angels—a charity organization, which is conducted by a small group of dedicated women to raise funds and awareness for children’s hospice, regularly hold fund raising events and participates in various activities. (http://www.johnnysangels.org/)
The organization seeks to best benefit Johnny Depp and it has been successful with their sales of fan items, fund raising and other various events. Their most recent fundraising was right after the release of Dark Shadow, where they raised $4400. Johnny Depp himself is also aware of the good works of this organization and has written them several letter and made a donation to CHPCC in its name.