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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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July 4th, 2014
05:18 PM ET

Hollywood comes to Kansas City to raise money for sick kids

By CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, and Kim Berryman

Kansas City (CNN) – They are some of the funniest dudes in the country: "Anchorman" pals Paul Rudd and David Koechner, "Saturday Night Live" alum Jason Sudeikis, "Modern Family's" Eric Stonestreet, and "22 Jump Street's" Rob Riggle.

Believe it or not, all this funny comes from the same place: Kansas City. The yuksters recently returned to their hometown on a gravely serious mission – to raise money for sick children.

And of course they did it with a smile, hanging out and entertaining patients from Childrens' Mercy Hospital battling some of the most challenging forms of cancer and terminal illness.

The 5-year-old event started out as a poker tournament organized by Riggle. They called it the "Big Slick," after the poker term, and raised about $50,000.

Every year since, the event has gotten bigger with more famous friends, like "Mad Men" actor John Hamm.

Even the stars' families stepped up to help run it.

"This year, I was lucky enough to participate," said Kathy Sudeikis, Jason's mom.

It's a special event, because even while the moments are zany, the seriousness of what's being faced by these brave children and their families looms large.

Like 4-year-old Aubrie Sanborn from Wichita, who just weeks ago was in a moped accident, and is now paralyzed from the neck down.

Unlike a lot of celebrity charity events, this is not about headlines in New York or Hollywood, it's about the community in Kansas City.

Corporate and local sponsors hosted a Wiffle Ball game at Royals Stadium, a bowling tournament with stars like James Marsden and Johnny Knoxville, an auction, and a talent show.

The result? They raised a $1 million, and a lot of spirits.

If you want to learn more about the event, or donate to children's mercy, check out their website.


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