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
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
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
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.’"
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS: “Global HIV prevalence has
levelled off; AIDS is among the leading causes of death globally and remains
the primary cause of death in Africa,” press release. November 20,