Criss Angel carried a little boy and a big idea into Circus Couture on Friday night.
The Luxor’s star illusionist dropped a $100,000 bid on a painting called “Atoms” by a young cancer patient named Taylor, throwing a charge into the annual charity event at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel for Cure 4 The Kids Foundation.
Circus Couture supports Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada, the state’s only nonprofit outpatient clinic treating children with cancer, and other serious childhood diseases.
Dubbed “Prysm,” the event at Hard Rock was the eighth fundraising art auction, circus performance and fashion show. Several performers from Cirque du Soleil and other stage shows in Las Vegas took part.
Last week, Cure 4 The Kids announced that StoryBook Homes founders Wayne and Catherine Laska had pledged $500,000 to support the Long-Term Follow-Up (LTFU) Clinic for Childhood Cancer Survivors. The clinic is to be re-named the Storybook Homes Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic for Childhood Cancer Survivors.
Angel capped the wave of support with his appearance Friday. The Strip headliner is especially passionate about pediatric care as his 3-year-old son, Johnny Crisstopher, is being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Johnny and Shauryl Benson, the boy’s mother and Angel’s ex-wife (who flew in from her home in Melbourne, Australia), joined Angel at Saturday’s event.
The crowd burst into applause and cheers as auctioneer Christian Kolberg announced Angel’s winning bid. Angel stood while holding his son, saying, “He’s going through his own battle with leukemia, but because of his incredible, brave mother, he’s getting through it.”
Angel added that Johnny is “technically in remission,” while still scheduled for daily chemotherapy treatments for another 14 months.
Angel reminded that even in remission, cancer is a lifelong battle.
“Unfortunately, sometimes, cancer rears its ugly head, a year, two years, three years, four years, five years, later,” Angel said, recalling young Avery Driscoll, national ambassador for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, who died of brain cancer at age 13 in June 2016.
“She was a young lady who was truly a princess,” Angel said.
Angel has donated at least a half-million dollars to Cure 4 The Kids and St. Baldrick’s just in the past two years. He says he plans to hold his next H.E.L.P. (Heal Every Life Possible) cancer charity fundraiser in 2018. The inaugural event was held at Angel’s Luxor theater in September 2016.
“No child, no child, should have to deal with life or death,” Angel said. “They should only deal with what toy they are going to play with on what day.”