Updated April 12. Sir Paul is spending the first part of his week in the beautiful city of Chicago. He made his first public appearance on Monday at the Chicago Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Center for
International Rehabilitation's Fifth Annual Awards Dinner where Heather Mills was honored with the Center's Advocacy Award in recognition of her role as one of the world's leading advocates for people with disabilities. (see March 14)
During the event, Heather spoke to a WGN television reporter about her award:"It's obviously a great honor, but it's really - as far as I'm concerned - for the people that helped me in the work that I do. So it means trying to raise awareness in the land mine campaign."Sir Paul walked up and joined in the conversation. The reporter commented that Sir Paul was obviously very proud of Heather. He replied:"I certainly am! Yeah. She's fantastic! I'm here for Heather and we're both here for a cause more important than both of us. It will be a really good idea to clear the world of land mines. We're hoping to do it, but we need your help."What is the message Sir Paul hopes to covey from this particular event?"From this event? Just let's clear the world of land mines. It would be a really good idea and we're hoping to do it. It's do-able, but we need your help, right babe?" Sir Paul asked Heather. She added:Later, Sir Paul told reporters (and the television audiance):
"We need survivor assistance as well. We could make a child walk again for $20, so that's a huge difference. Think about that. Not a lot of money to give a child a chance at a productive life.''"We're both fighting for the cause and we need your help - and the people watching."Dr. William Kennedy Smith, founder of the Center for International Rehabilitation understands that celebrities such as Sir Paul can help bring attention to his cause. He said:''People come because they believe in the message and to support the mission. That's very important. When Princess Diana was involved in the mission it was very helpful. When my cousin John [F. Kennedy Jr.] was present in Chicago it was helpful.Sir Paul and Heather encouraged those wishing to help to visit the Adopt-A-Minefield website.
''People do come because they're interested in what celebrities and other high-profile people have to say, but what really grabs them in the long run and what grabs [those celebrities] is the mission itself and the importance of this to so many people in the world.''
A post-script to the evening:
Last week, Dr. William Kennedy Smith, the director of the Center for International Rehabilitation in Chicago, appeared on WGN radio's Spike O'Dell program to discuss his recent trip to Afghanistan and his latest humanitarian project: to bring off-road wheelchairs to people disabled by the war. Knowing that Mr. O'Dell is a huge McCartney fan, Dr. Smith invited him to meet Sir Paul at the awards dinner. For whatever reason, Mr. O'Dell was unable to attend the function, however he was surprised and delighted when he was sent a little souvenir of the evening - a place card from Sir Paul's table upon which was written:Spike -
Where were you?
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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