Return to Transcripts main page


CNN Heroes. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 9, 2016 - 21:00   ET


KELLY RIPA, AMERICAN ACTRESS, DANCER, TALK SHOW HOST, AND TELEVISION PRODUCER: They are helping all of our heroes tonight and all year long.

ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN: In the United States, as you may know, homicide is the leading cause of death right now for African-American males between the ages of 15 and 34. To tell us how he's trying to break this cycle of violence is one of the stars of the television show, "Power," and the new film "Will Gardner," and founder of the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, an after school program for disadvantaged young people, please welcome, Omari Hardwick.

OMARI HARDWICK, FOUNDER, OMARI HARDWICK BLUAPPLE POETRY NETWORK: Good evening. On the streets of Brooklyn, a good doctor knows what all of us should know that violence is a menace to society and a public health emergency. That is what Dr. Rob Gore saw as a 10-year-old boy walking around with a set of box cutters.

For protection, mind you, as a grown man trying to save patients in the ER with a different set of cutters. When the same young people kept appear with stab wounds, gunshot wound and broken dreams more imperatively, he did more than stitch them up.

He made their lives his priority. He started the Kings Against Violence Initiative, KAVI and recovery patients are assigned bedside "hospital responders" quote unquote, who provide service to pave the way for a better future folks, and three Brooklyn high schools and a middle school respectively, he offers conflict resolution. We all need that.

He offers these classes so students understand how to better build a new way. See, we all know how to stop the cycle. We know what we have to do, but what we don't know always how to do is how to be fearless, like Dr. Gore.

Connect the disconnected. Connect the dots, folks. Embrace those lost and a word very dear to my heart, "empower" the lives determined to break free. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROB GORE, FOUNDER, KINGS AGAINST VIOLENCE INITIATIVE: Hey, Moshood, how you doing? How are you feeling? All right.

I have been in Brooklyn most of my life. It's like a landmark up there in green. Hey what's going on?

There's a very distinct kind of flavor and spirit to it.

I'll see you tomorrow.

It's why I make it my home. At the same time, there's a lot of violent conflict. People are hurting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was six and walking with my cousin and my cousin got shot. When I was 7, I lost my father to gun violence. My loved ones are dying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to worry about my life being taken me all the time because I have been on the end of the gun before and I know this could be it.

GORE: I don't like pronouncing people dead. I want to preserve life.

What's going on? I haven't seen you in a while? You been all right?

I want to make sure young people don't become patients. This is prevention. We had a shooting just up the street from here. Lives are being taken away from us. How do you feel about that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes me feel like it could happen to me, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It kind of puts fear in my heart because what do we do? Because I was always like a big dude physically, I kind of got targeted and the only way that I knew how to deal with it was to retaliate.

GORE: We focus on conflict resolution and mediation.

Every time it goes down, is it always going to be, "Oh, you know, I ain't got nothing to do with it." What is it that you can actually do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't hesitate to speak. It might just reach somebody.

GORE: Conflict is not avoidable, but violent conflict is. We want to make sure they can learn how to process, deal with it and overcome it. How many y'all are graduating?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have to be angry all the time, ready to fight all the time. The change that I made, like, in my life is crazy. I know it's cool to be a soft --

GORE: I'm proud of you man, this is good stuff.

What is violence?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Gore helps me think how we can actually get change in this community so these things could end.

GORE: I want people to be able to live, I want people be able to heal. I want to make sure that our community can thrive.



HARDWICK: Ladies and gentlemen, join me in honoring CNN hero and my new Brooklyn neighborhood, Dr. Rob Gore.

(Cheering and Applause)

GORE: Oh, man, thank you, CNN. Thank you to all our supporters. I'm not going to lie, but it's pretty, freaking awesome to save a life, but it's even more powerful to prevent someone from becoming a patient.

Violent trauma is devastating to the people we work with and every single person connected to that person.


GORE: Loved ones, their classmates, and their entire communities. KAVI works nonstop to ensure that everyone impacted by violence has a chance to heal. We understand that if you have been injured or surrounded by violence where you live that it doesn't mean that you're broken. We know that there's still hope.

Our patients are students. They don't want your pity. They don't want your condolences. They want to live. Thank you.



COOPER: Gun violence is everywhere. It happens in our schools, restaurant, on street corners, in the homes and houses of worship. During the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 17 people were killed. But many teachers made split second decisions that saved lives.

At a waffle house in Nashville, Tennessee, where four people were killed, a man wrestled the weapon away from the gunman. And during the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where 11 people were murdered, a doctor ran to the scene to offer his help and a rabbi inspired the nation with his pleas for an end to hate speech.

These men and women may not think of themselves as heroes, but we do.


RIPA: Ladies and gentlemen, please join us in honoring some of the teachers from Parkland, Florida -- Ashley Kurth, Melissa Falkowski and Shanthi Viswanatha.

COOPER: Also from Nashville, Tennessee, the man who disarmed the shooter from the Waffle House, the hero, James Shaw Jr. and from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Jeffrey Cohen and Rabbi Jeffrey Meyers. We want to thank you for your honor, for your courage and your action. We are honored that you've joined us tonight and we are so grateful that everyday people step up and become heroes in our lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next, Uzo Aduba and we've got more young wonders to celebrate. CNN heroes, an all-star tribute is proudly sponsored by Servpro, helping make fire and water damage like it never even happened.


COOPER: And welcome back to "CNN Heroes." Our next hero comes from Lagos, Nigeria. It's the largest city in Africa, it's a tech hub with 21 million people and in many ways it's thriving. But for more than 100,000 people who live among the floating shacks in the harbor neighborhood of Makoko, extreme poverty is still a way of life.

RIPA: Here to share how our hero has devoted her life to bringing opportunity to disadvantaged girls and young women from Makoko, and many other neighborhoods, please welcome Emmy Award winning actor, a proud Nigerian-American and supporter of Heifer International, which works to end hunger and poverty, one of the stars of "Orange is the New Black," Uzo Aduba.

UZO ADUBA, EMMY AWARD WINNING ACTRESS: It was not easy growing up in a house where her mother died when she was three and it was not easy enduring the beating of a violent father, but Abisoye Ajayi- Akinfolarin triumphed over these tragedies.

She defied the Nigerian norms for girls that she is would marry and have children by 18 and she wanted more and fell in love with computers, ran away in order to graduate from high school, went on to college and succeeded as a programmer.

But when she looked back, she saw too many girls in need of a chance. In 2015, Abisoye reached back and extended her hand to them. She gave up her career and created the Pearls Africa Foundation and the girls coding program. She has helped hundreds of girls learn and grow. And each day she teaches them these invaluable lessons. "You are brilliant. You are equal. And you will triumph, too."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Faran (ph), I'm 17 years and I live in Makoko community. I'm the 11th child. My mom is a trader, while my dad is a fisherman. Most of the people there are fishermen. The women - my friends, they are married. They have children, so I'm really trying my best to differentiate myself. ABISOYE AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN, FOUNDER, PEARLS AFRICA FOUNDATION: When I

went to Makoko for the first time, I was surprised to see the living condition of human beings. I believe you have to find diamonds in these places. They need to be shown another life.

Working with HTML? Without these element tags, your websites won't work.

What we look for in potential students is - are you willing to learn? You want them to creators or tech and not mere users.

Sharon, what tools did you use to create this website?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: JavaScript is what is making it really to function well.

AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN: Did you encounter any form of challenge?


AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN: The slogan we have is "When girls learn to code, the world will run without bugs." It is no longer about just coding. We try to solve problems in their communities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dad, this is my website. So the app is Makoko Fresh, so it's where people can go and buy any seafood and contact the fishermen and the fish get delivered to the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through a translator): God will bless you.

AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN: The fact that it can create solutions to problems, makes them feel bold.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope to be a software engineer working with one of the biggest companies in the world.

AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN: You must always have a goal in mind. Do we understand?

GROUP: Yes, ma'am.

AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN: This is nice. What did you use for this?


AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN: Can you scroll? Can I see? The joy on their faces, I can't buy it. Regardless of where you're coming from, we can make it. They are coders. They are thinkers. Their future is bright.


(Cheering and Applause)

ADUBA: It is my honor to present CNN hero, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin.


AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN: Thank God, and thank you CNN. But I'm not a hero. Sharon, Miriam, Nasarat all the young girls will surmount the greatest traditional socioeconomic barriers to pursue their dreams at girls coding. They are the heroes.

If anything, my work has shown that the six millions of girls out of school in Nigeria or the 23 million girls forced into child marriage could be building up and solving complex science problems in some lab right now. If only we fight for them.

So I call on everyone in this room and everyone watching to join us in this fight, so that the world can see the precious gift these girls have to share. Thank you.

RIPA: Well, it's that time to meet another young wonder.

COOPER: To share her story and work as a champion for Be Mighty, an organization that supports families with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, and one of the stars of "The Christmas Chronicles," Darby Camp.

DARBY CAMP, AMERICAN ACTRESS: Today in the United States, about 800,000 people have a birthday. Some will open presents with family and friends, but too many people can't celebrate their important day because they are alone or don't have enough money. I want them all to know that all of us wish them a very Happy Birthday.

This is what Sonika Menon would want. She believes everyone should feel special on the day they enter this world and when she was 13, she started the Birthday Giving Program to make that happen.




MENON: Celebrating a birthday is important because you need to realize that you do make a difference because everyone is unique.

Happy birthday to you.

The Birthday Giving Program's mission is to provide birthday bags and to celebrate all individuals who are affected by poverty, abuse, physical and mental challenges. Everyone has a birthday and everyone deserves to be celebrated.

We feel that's important to put extra time in to customize the bags. They'll all see that we've put all this time and we care about them. I feel like we have accomplished a lot so far. We started with one organization and now we're partnered with over 20 organizations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A majority of our members currently, a lot of them are residing in homeless shelters, the foster care system and come from single parent homes. We always wanted to do something for everybody's birthday. What Sonika is doing fit in perfectly with our mission.

MENON: It's a priceless feeling seeing everyone happy and smiling and giggling knowing that they feel that way because of what we do, you're more of yourself when you're around other people who make you feel special. Nothing else can ever replace that.


COOPER: So cool. Please welcome Sonika Menon. You're so cool. You're amazing. I know have some ways - some ideas about how to grow your program.

MENON: Yes, currently we serve 22 organizations all over Illinois. And we have many plans to expand farther. We want to open up new chapters in other states. And we're looking for more volunteers to do that. So that would be very great to have more amazing people to help support our cause. And we also want to open up a war veterans division to celebrate those who have given so much to our country. We're very grateful for all that they do and it's a great way to celebrate their accomplishments and what they have done for us and our country. Thank you.

COOPER: I wish you the best of luck. Thank you so much. Sonika Menon. To find out more about Sonika's work and all our young wonders, go to We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up next, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. And later, a special performance by Lenny Kravitz. CNN Heroes, an all-star tribute is proudly sponsored by Novartis.

COOPER: Welcome back to "CNN Heroes." For the next few minutes, we are going to be talking about a difficult, but important subject matter. And for any parents out there with kids in the room, it might be challenging for younger viewers and you might want to mute the volume or send your kids to the next room for just a few moments.

RIPA: Our next hero works in San Diego, California. It is ranked as one of the top ten cities in the United States for sex trafficking. As many as 8,000 victims, many 12 and 14 years old are exploited in this multibillion dollar business. Here to share the inspiring story of how she's helping these victims is a proud supporter of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which helps survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

She's one of the stars of "Widows," and "Bad Times at the El Royale," Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner, Cynthia Erivo.

CYNTHIA ERIVO, AMERICN ACTRESS: In 1972, a 15-year-old runaway used to sneak into clubs in Hollywood, California. One night Susan Munsey met a man. He made her feel special and told her he loved her. Soon after the abuse began. He ordered her to perform sex acts with men for money. When she didn't, he'd hit her and broke her jaw.

At 16 she was arrested for prostitution and it saved her life. That man was what Susan now calls a classic Romeo pimp. They are all over the internet, social media, dating and gaming websites, you name it.


ERIVO: They are there preying on vulnerable young women and girls. Because of Susan's own experience and the frightening rise of sex trafficking in the United States, she started Generate Hope. It is a home that provides women with a safe place to escape trafficking, continue their education and receive medical care.

There is so much trauma to unpack for each woman, but Susan has the love, strength and understanding for more than a hundred women that have walked through her doors.


SUSAN MUNSEY, FOUNDER, GENERATE HOPE: Nobody wakes up and just decides one day I'm going to sell my body and give the money away. I thought that I had met this fantastic guy who really cared for me. It was going to be a one-time thing. And that turned into a couple of months. He did the same thing that I see happening to women today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He got out of the car and I thought he was going to open my door for me. Then he grabbed me and threw me in his trunk. He handed me off to each other like I was nothing. I was just trafficked over a few different states.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was about 15 and I would scream and say, "Help, help, help," but people would look at me and then keep going. I never thought I would make it out alive.

MUNSEY: My vision was to have a home where women could come and find safety and find themselves. Think about having sex with ten different strangers a night for five years in the kind of physical, psychological and spiritual trauma that they have been through. It's not just about creating safety physically, but psychologically as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At 12:30, you guys will be doing some college and career readiness.

MUNSEY: We really work to help them realize all the skills and capabilities that they have within themselves. The goal is number one, not to return to the life; and number two, to be able to start a new life.

I always knew that God would use that time that I was trafficked. It wasn't wasted time. I love what I'm doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to school to be a veterinarian. Whatever your dream is, you can accomplish it. They have really showed me that here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I first got here, I wasn't able to speak. Now I can speak for myself and it feels amazing. I am free. I am free.


ERIVO: Please join me in honoring CNN hero, Susan Munsey.

MUNSEY: I'd like to accept this award on behalf of the women who show up every day at Generate Hope ready to dive into recovery. Both the hard working staff and the survivors who face their trauma head on and work through it so that they can reach their dreams and their goals and become the women that they were always meant to be.

Working through trauma is not an easy thing. Facing the horrors of sex trafficking through therapy, restarting academics can be challenging. But they do it. They have done it. They are mighty women and they are truly heroes. Thank you.

(Cheering and Applause)

RIPA: Our next hero comes from Lima, Peru. For the nearly seven million people who live in the rural areas and in the mountains, they must travel long distances to receive expert medical care.

COOPER: To tell us how our next hero helps those families is the spokesperson and advocate for Oceana, an organization that protects the world's oceans and a proud supporter of Progeria Research Foundation, please welcome, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.

MARY STEENBURGEN, AMERICAN ACTRESS: It happens all the time. We're out and about in our lives and we catch something heartbreaking out of the corner of our eye, sometimes we keep going and others ...


STEENBURGEN: ... we stop, look closer and demand to know why. As a young doctor, Ricardo Pun-Chong finished his shift and headed toward the hospital door. There, he saw families with sick babies and children wearing masks and hats covering their bald heads. He saw them sleeping on the cold hard hospital floor.

TED DANSON, AMERICAN ACTOR: After he learned that so many were too poor to afford a place to stay while children received treatment, he asked why don't I build them a home?

In 2008, he opened Inspira to offer families a free bed, home cooked meals, tutoring and rides to the hospital. So far nearly a thousand families have stepped inside this welcoming place. Because of Ricardo's love and laughter, they heal, they rest, grow stronger and know that they have a heartwarming home for as long as they need.


RICARDO PUN-CHONG, FOUNDER, INSPIRA: When the kids of our countryside has a serious medical conditions, they have to come here to start their medical treatment. The journey - it's very difficult.

Imagine having this trip with a kid with cancer. They feel helpless, really alone. When I go to my shelter, I am not a doctor. I am Ricardo. All the kids come to me and they hug me. They can stay as long as they need. I want them to use their imaginations. To play, to sing and feel that we are alive because life is very beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign language).

PUN-CHONG: I have spent all my energy just to teach them to be the happiest that they can be. I want them to know that they are not alone. The kids inspire me every day. They are fighters, warriors, really they are heroes.


STEENBURGEN: Ladies and gentlemen, please join us in honoring CNN hero, Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong.

(Cheering and Applause)

PUN-CHONG: Thanks to God for hearing my prayer 11 years ago. When I asked him to give me a sign, to find my mission in this world. Today, after so many lessons and so many stories, that reality that seems like a dream has helped over 800 families.

And now thanks to CNN, we will be able to multiply the assistance given. The real heroes are our kids. And I'm going to say it in Spanish because my kids are watching TV. (Foreign language). Infinite thank you's to each of you for trusting us and showing us that love has no borders. Thank you so much.

(Cheering and Applause)


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next one, of our heroes will show you something you'll never forget. And later, we'll reveal your choice for CNN hero of the year.

COOPER: Welcome back to "CNN Heroes." You can go to and click on the donate button to support all our heroes and their work and after the show, we'll have an exclusive interview with the CNN hero of the year on Facebook.

RIPA: So check that out. Make sure you check it out, and now it's time to honor our final young wonder of the night. Here to share his powerful story is a champion for UNICEF and the star of "Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle," Rohan Chand.

ROHAND CHAND, AMERICAN ACTOR: There's something powerful about a baseball game. The gigantic stadium, the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd as the ball soars towards the wall. Max Bobholz agrees, too.

When he learned that kids from Africa playing in the Little League World Series didn't have enough equipment, he decided to do something. He started Angels That Bat. He gathered used equipment sitting around in people's garages in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and donated it to kids in Kenya.

You know what else is powerful? Leaders of any age you see people in need and help them.


MAX BOBHOLZ, ANGELS THAT BAT: When I was younger, baseball meant a lot to me because it was the game that I loved playing. The game that I always kind of wanted to be better at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We often said he plays as good as his coach believes in him, and so Todd was one of those coaches that believed in Max.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Max was 12 years old, we had to tell him that his coach had died.

BOBHOLZL: I spent the next six months or so trying to figure out a way to honor him, to grieve the process. And in 2012, I watched the Little League World Series and Uganda was representing Africa for the first time and they had stories of where the teams came from. Not everybody had enough balls to play, and no uniforms, no hats, no shoes.

I know I had that in my garage, all my friends had it in their garage and I thought why don't we send it to the kids in Africa so they can play? It popped in my head, let's do it for Todd.

In the past six years, we have collected just about 10,000 pieces of equipment.

Every time you go all the way around.

This summer I went to Kenya for the fourth time.

We hit and then we're going to run all the way around, okay?

You fall in love with the people and you fall in love with the idea of teaching baseball to a group of children that have never heard of it even.

Hit it really far.

It's a special moment to see something that you believe in so wholeheartedly have an impact on people's lives across the globe. Anybody can do anything as long as they put their mind to it, they believe in it and they want it.


COOPER: Please welcome, Max Bobholzl. It's such an honor to meet you. You started this when you were 12, right?


COOPER: And now you're a freshman in college.

BOBHOLZL: Correct.

COOPER: What do you hope to do to try to grow the program?

BOBHOLZL: I mean, I have always said my mission statement is to never stop. I don't have an end goal. I just want to keep going as far as I can, so I would say to continue on that path.

COOPER: And you're studying Swahili at college, right.


COOPER: How's that going?

BOBHOLZL: I love it.

COOPER: I took it for a year. But all I remember is (foreign language) which is "I'm a bad student," which tells you why I don't remember anymore. So anyway, congratulations. Thank you for all you do.

BOBHOLZL: Thank you.

COOPER: Awesome. If you want to find out more about Max and our other young wonders, please go to We'll be right back.

RIPA: In the United States, millions of people live with paralysis and mobility issues. Here to tell us how our next hero is providing many with extraordinary cutting edge care is the star of the film "The Possession Of Hannah Grace." Founder of travel lifestyle brand Beis and proud supporter of Girl Up, please welcome Shay Mitchell.

SHAY MITCHELL, FOUNDER, BEIS: Twenty six years ago, a young woman stood at the top of Snowmass Mountain. She headed down the trail and in a split second, Amanda Boxtel's life changed forever with a paralyzing ski accident.

Afterwards, she went into a dark place. But she fought back and found a way to do some things she loved in a new way. One day, she tried a piece of equipment called an exoskeleton. It wrapped around her legs and body and lifted her out of her chair. Her eyes level with others. She stretched tall and walked for the first time in 18 years.

In that moment, she didn't think "good for me." She thought "good for everyone." Soon after, she launched the Bridging Bionics Foundation which offers free or low-cost physical therapy for patients and access to ground-breaking technology.

More than 75 people have benefitted from Amanda's resilience and her belief that no matter what life throws at you, we all have the ability to be at the top of a mountain and realize our dreams.


AMANDA BOXTEL, FOUNDER BRIDGING BIONICS FOUNDATION: When I dream, I fly. And I have freedom. And if I wake from those flying, magical places, it's always just this harsh reality of, oh, you're paralyzed. I feel like the mountain had robbed me of the use of my legs, but I

was determined to show that I wasn't going to give up. This type of technology changed my life. It's not easily accessible. It's not affordable.

I'll race you to the door.

And I thought, we could get a whole community up and walking with this unit. Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was kayaking. I went over the waterfall and hit a rock at the bottom, and I compressed my spine and broke my second lumbar vertebrae.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had no neurological function at all below my injury. My spinal surgeon didn't even think that I would be walking again.

My insurance company gave me ten hour-long physical therapy sessions for the year. I do ten physical therapy sessions in a week. And as a teacher, that just wasn't financially possible for me. So this program, it's essentially free for me to get top quality physical therapy.

I'm a robot.

My goal has always been to make a full recovery. And I think a lot of people thought that was farfetched. I began walking with no assistance over a year after my accident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I made the first couple of steps, I knew that making a full recovery was possible. Amanda took me under her wing. She always believed that I was going to be walking again.

BOXTEL: He's living the miracle of what we all aspire for. To stand up and to do it on our own. He's doing it. Life is not over when someone stands there with a traumatic injury. Life goes on. It's just a little different. And that's okay.



MITCHELL: It is my honor to present CNN hero Amanda Boxtel.


BOXTEL: I want a hug. Come. I choose to stand in the quantum realm of possibility and hope. It is our human right to have access to technologies and healing therapies to improve quality of life. I envision making advanced technologies accessible and affordable for every person with a neurological condition. I do this because of our clients like Nate. You're our real heroes.

Seek to be a vessel of kindness and of love. I invite you to walk with us so we can keep giving the gift of mobility, to improve the lives of others and bring healing to our world. Thank you.

(Cheering and Applause)

RIPA: Now do not go away. There's much more to come.

COOPER: That's right, coming up next is a powerful performance by Lenny Kravitz, who I so wish I could be like. He's like the coolest guy.

RIPA: He is so cool.

COOPER: And talented.

RIPA: I'm telling you backstage, it was - we were just blessed with coolness. It was amazing.

COOPER: Yes, didn't rub off on me though.

RIPA: I know, it skipped right over us. It bounced off of us and now he's doubly cool.

COOPER: Is that how it works?

RIPA: That's how it works.

COOPER: I didn't know that.

RIPA: Yes, and the moment you have all been waiting for. We will announce our 2018 CNN hero of the year. Someone is about to get $100,000.00.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN Heroes, an all-star tribute is proudly sponsored by Subaru. Love it's what makes a Subaru a Subaru.


COOPER: Welcome back to "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," we are just minutes away from announcing your choice of 2018 CNN hero of the year.

But first, our final guest. He is here with a song about the one thing that connects all of our heroes, the people they serve, love.

RIPA: Please join me in welcoming the founder of the Let Love Rule Foundation which provides free medical and dental care for people in the Bahamas and a Grammy Award winning artist singing "Here is Love," from his album, "Raise Vibration," Lenny Kravitz.

LENNY KRAVITZ, AMERICAN SINGER: We must all unite for we are one creation. We must join the fight, together we are strong. We must do what's right in every situation. Love each other's lives as you would do your own. Just think twice. Before you cast your stone at someone's soul. It's their life. So the choice is theirs and theirs alone.

We're not here to judge. We are here to love. There's no room for hate. We are just one human race. We must rise above. We are here to love.


KRAVITZ: There's no time to waste anymore. We must all unite, there's no more segregation. When you've seen the light there's nowhere else to go. And with peace in sight no walls could separate us. We would be as one because this earth's our home.

Just think twice. Before you cast your stone at someone's soul. It's their life. So the choice is theirs and theirs alone.

We're not here to judge. We are here to love. There's no room to hate. We are just one human race. We must rise above. We are here to love. There's no time to waste anymore.

Will we learn from our past? Our clock is running fast. We're not here to judge. We are here to love. There's no room for hate. There is just one human race.

We must rise above. We are here to love. There's no time to waste anymore. We're not here to judge. We are here to love. There's no room for hate. We are just one human race. We must rise above. We are here to love. There's no time to waste anymore.

(Cheering and Applause)

COOPER: Awesome.

RIPA: Amazing, amazing.

COOPER: I love Lenny Kravitz.

RIPA: Me, too.

COOPER: Now, it's time for us to reveal our 2018 CNN Hero of the Year. CNN has awarded each of our honorees $10,000.00 to carry on their important work.

RIPA: And as part of their award, each Top 10 hero will also receive free organizational training from the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide.

COOPER: In Los Angeles, they will participate with a board member in a customized version of the Annenberg Alchemy Program which authors leadership development to help strengthen organizations for long term success. This is the seventh year of CNN's collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation. We thank them.

RIPA: Yes, and we'd like to invite all of our Top 10 CNN heroes back to the stage, please give them your biggest and loudest cheers.

(Cheering and Applause) RIPA: Since we announced the top 10 heroes, we gave you the

opportunity to vote for the hero you inspires you the most. The hero with the most votes will receive an additional $100,000.00 to continue their life-changing work.

COOPER: Ladies and gentlemen, the 2018 CNN Hero of the Year is Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong.