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Children's Health

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Actor Anthony Edwards Builds a Hospital

The star of the popular ER series is helping Kenyan women and children get shoes, health care
WebMD Magazine - Feature

When the producers of NBC’s Emmy award–winning series ER tapped original cast member Anthony Edwards to reprise the role of Dr. Mark Greene one final time for the show’s last season, he agreed, on one condition: His episode salary -- $125,000, to be exact -- would be donated directly to Shoe4Africa, a nonprofit organization that is building a 250-bed children’s hospital in Eldoret, Kenya.

The powers that be at ER quickly agreed. Then director Steven Spielberg, whose company is involved in ER’s production, matched the $125,000 donation, and ER executive producer John Wells chipped in an additional $50,000.

Edwards Supports Shoe4Africa

The new facility will be the cornerstone of Shoe4Africa, which supplies gently used running shoes to African women and children, creates sporting events and training programs across the continent, and offers HIV testing and information to all who attend races and games in Africa.

Edwards, 46, became involved after he took his family on an around-the-world vacation in 2007. The trip included a Shoe4Africa event with 2,000 women running together and an HIV-positive woman who stood up and told her story.

“I saw the power of it all,” says Edwards, an avid runner. “Shoes are a basic tool that we think everyone has, but not everyone does.”

Shoes and Hookworm

Shoes can also help protect Africans against hookworm, an infection of the small intestine and lungs that is spread by walking barefoot in human sewage. Hookworm infection may increase susceptibility to other infections, including HIV.

Last summer, Edwards toured the main hospital near the construction site. “We stopped in every room,” he recalls, “and there was singing, and I told them how I was just asked to go back to ER. … [They said] ‘Fantastic. Dr. Greene has come back to life to build us a hospital.’"

Reviewed on January 15, 2009

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