Red Nose Day USA: “Running Wild” for vaccines

Julia Roberts and Bear Grylls doc about immunization supply chain featured in 2017 telethon

Washington, DC, 26 May 2017– Outdoor adventurer Bear Grylls and actor Julia Roberts’ race to deliver vaccines to a remote village in Kenya put immunization and Gavi’s mission center stage of Red Nose Day USA on Thursday.

In a special episode of “Running Wild,” broadcast on NBC as part of the Red Nose Day telethon, the two celebrities are shown making a dramatic journey through underbrush and across a rope bridge to reach kids in a small village with life-saving vaccines.

The video powerfully illustrates the immunization supply chain which ensures vaccines are transported safely from a country’s central warehouse to the kids who need them most.

“It was 110 or 115 degrees…very hot. I had this cooler with vaccines in it, and we had to get them to the farthest villages,” Roberts said in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.

“We got there, and the place was teeming with families and kids. Everybody’s there because they know it’s an opportunity to get vaccines that will absolutely save their lives and change their lives…it’s just incredible.”

Record fundraising

The Red Nose Day USA telethon dedicates three hours of comedy, music, and entertainment to raising awareness of child poverty and support for 11 non-profit organizations working to improve kids’ lives. In its third years, the TV bonanza, which is sponsored by Comic Relief Inc., raised a record US$ 35 million.

Funds raised through previous Red Nose Day activities in the US have to date benefitted 2.6 million children across 50 US States and, internationally, another 25 countries. Globally, Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion since its launch in the United Kingdom in 1988.

In addition to “Running Wild,” last night’s Red Nose Day featured a special edition of “Celebrity Ninja Warrior” and a mini-sequel of the 2003 romantic comedy, Love Actually. Comedian Chris Hardwick hosted the Red Nose Day live event with Nikki Glaser, Derek Hough, Stephen Amell, Natalie Morales, and many others.

Gavi partner

Comic Relief has been a strong Gavi partner since 2012, raising $26.2 million matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Since 2015, Red Nose Day USA’s contribution to Gavi has helped to immunize more than 800,000 children living in sub-Saharan Africa with life-saving vaccines, including those protecting against pneumococcal disease, rotavirus diarrhea, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib).

The world needs more Love, Actually! Watch Gavi staff deliver their own thank you message to Comic Relief for Red Nose Day USA.

Capitol Hill Kick-off

To kick off Red Nose Day USA, Gavi and 10 other domestic and international Red Nose Day USA charity partners hosted a reception on Capitol Hill on 16 May. Partners included Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Children’s Health Fund; Covenant House; Feeding America; National Council of La Raza; Save the Children; Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA; Oxfam; and The Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

“One billion children in the developing world are deprived of one or more basic needs, which is why we all come together for Red Nose Day: to keep kids healthy, safe, and educated,” said Janet Scardino, CEO of Comic Relief Inc., addressing lawmakers and guests.

“With overwhelming support from our non-profit partners, celebrities, social media’s #NosesOn campaign, and generosity from the American people, we’re making a difference, one nose at a time,” she said.