Blogger meets spina bifida activist at ‘Eternal Couture’ Orlando event

February 25, 2012   Opinion

Faces Archive | Source

Boris Kodjoe attends fashion event, portion of proceeds donated to Cord for Life Foundation

by Faces of Spina Bifida
excerpts from Holdin' Out for a Hero | Original Link

Orlando, FL— For two and a half years, writer Laura Tellado, a 25 year old activist from Orlando, has challenged celebrities to become a 'hero' for spina bifida on her blog, Holdin' Out for a Hero. Thursday night, Ms. Tellado met Boris Kodjoe an actor whose seven-year-old daughter, Sophie, lives with the birth defect.

On her blog, she described the event as "my Cinderella-esque experience near the bright lights of the runway, with a hot Hollywood actor who has a heart of gold. Sometimes brushes with Tinseltown alumni make people arrogant. But for me, a simple girl with spina bifida, I was meeting a kindred spirit."

The two have a lot in common. In October of 2009, Ms. Tellado shared Mr. Kodjoe's charity on her blog. Sophie's Voice Foundation (SVF) aims to support “family outreach programs, prenatal education and surgical studies for children and adults with spina bifida.” Just like Ms. Tellado, SVF hopes to "build a national profile of individuals with Spina Bifida."

Most recently, Mr. Kodjoe and his wife, actress Nicole Ari Parker, opened a chapter of SVF in Ghana. According to an article on (reposted on Faces of Spina Bifida), in 2009, the foundation sent volunteers to Ghana to collect data on child mortality related birth defects. The foundation plans to work with the Ghanaian health department to build the first spina bifida clinic in Accra.

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After introducing herself to Mr. Kodjoe, Ms. Tellado announced, "I Tweeted you once, and you Tweeted me back.” He responded, “Really? When was this?”

“A long time ago!” I said. “I blogged about you. I have spina bifida.”

Immediately, Mr. Kodjoe pulled out his phone and showed Ms. Tellado his latest photos of Sophie. She was then invited to sit with him during the fashion show. The two discussed surgeries both dealt with due to spina bifida. Comparing notes, Ms. Tellado felt both flattered and endeared by Mr. Kodjoe's acceptance.


Although, two days later, Ms. Tellado is still gushing about her "surreal" evening with the Hollywood heartbreaker, she wrote "On a more serious note, Boris didn’t seem at all like the kind of person who lived for the party scene. In fact, he checked his phone a lot, and I could tell he was anxious to be home with his wife and two children. I really liked him, and felt I could be myself around him."

Cord for Life's mission includes saving lives by funding high-quality umbilical cord banking donation services. The foundation wants to increase minority cord blood donation donations and educate expectant parents about the potential life-saving value of umbilical cord blood donations.

The Kodjoe/Parker union keeps the acting couple busy. Currently, SVF is building the first center for spina bifida in the United States. It will be located in Atlanta, Georgia.