Affectionately known as Jingle All The Way, “Castle” star Tamala Jones’ story reading and toy distribution initiative, Jingle Holiday Drive, teamed with “CSI” vet Hill Harper’s Manifest Your Destiny toy drive campaign to deliver a day filled with the spirit of Christmas at the Salvation Army Westwood Transitional Village last week.
This year, Jones recruited a cast of characters to read Dr. Seuss’ classic “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” to children and families. Celebrity readers included: Robinson Peete (“Mike & Molly”), Angelique Bates (Nickelodeon’s “All That”), Brett Stimely (“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”), Tohoru Masamune (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), Lauren Suthers (“Ascension”) and Samantha Dempsey (“Newsroom”). Hill Harper and JB Smoove, as a part of the Manifest Your Destiny program, arrived to inject a lot of energy and excitement into the distribution of toys, which was followed by a competitive game of basketball with Harper and Smoove as team coaches. Harper’s team pulled out close victory over Smoove’s squad.
“I believe we had more fun than the children,” said Jones who serves as board chair of Jingle Holiday Drive. “I truly enjoyed working with Hill, JB is insane, and Holly is my role model; we had a really good day.”
A Brain Aneurysm survivor and activist, Jones along with her co-chair Darren Dickerson (publicist) decided to engage the Hollywood community to read classic holiday stories to children and help distribute toys at Christmas as a platform to raise awareness of adolescent aneurysms. Jones made several media appearances and reached an estimated 10 million people with her message this holiday season.
“My aneurysm ruptured at 23 and while that is young there are babies suffering from brain aneurysms and other brain related illness” says Jones. “The holidays for a tough time for a lot of people, this event is important because it brings joy to all involved while shining a light on an illness few truly understand and even fewer discuss.”
Jones’ primary focus is on early detection and erasing the stigma and misconceptions associated with brain illness.
“I hope to accomplish two key things to start: raise awareness that results in more CAT scans and MRIs when their is head injury or prolonged head pain; and to inject a little entertainment, sexiness and fun into the brain aneurysm community to remove any shame, guilt or fear over an uncontrolled illness that does not define you–me,” says Jones.