A Pebble in the Road to Change

Photo Credit: Katie Marks

One of the great truths in life is that the tiniest of things can sometimes spark the greatest change. In my case the tiniest of things was not an actual thing, but a small little girl named Katie.

My younger cousin Katie was diagnosed with Leukemia at the very young age of 11. I never saw her as a cousin, but more like a kid sister. Watching her battle Leukemia was one of the most terrifying and hardest things I've ever had to experience.

I spent many days by Katie's hospital bed, taking her to doctor's appointments and chemo treatments. The support staff she had, from caring nurses, attentive doctors, patient social workers, and the incredible community that rallied around Katie, helped her beat this disease. They not only raised much needed money for her costly medical treatments, but also gave both her and her family strength in enduring this arduous battle.

I witnessed her inspirational fight first hand and saw how the support system she had impacted her treatments. It was the work of the groups that supported Katie that inspired my lifelong quest to help those in need regardless of what ailments inflicted them.

There are so many issues and problems that impact all of us every day; no one person alone can tackle so many challenges. I have seen and heard many people want to get involved and help people, but feel like they are one person and cannot make a difference.

I always tell people who think this way that they are like a pebble. By itself a pebble is very small and does not seem like much, but together many pebbles can build a road. I not only wanted to throw my pebble into building the roads that can help bring change, but I also want to inspire others to do the same.

I have been an on-camera host for several years. In my conversations with everyone from celebrities on the red carpet to the man on the street, I found that we all have causes that impact our lives every day. I was surprised to find that many of us knew so little about how we could help bring change to things that affect us so much.

That's when I came up with the idea of Spotlight On, a talk show where celebrities can take the spotlight that shines on them, and turn it to causes and organizations that can help us make a difference. The series launched on March 30, 2015 (Katie's birthday), and matches celebrities who have causes that are near and dear to their hearts, with organizations that work tirelessly to help those in need.

The idea is to shine the spotlight on causes no matter how big or small they may seem. From Alzheimer's to bullying, to issues that impact our furry four legged friends, the goal is to show how together we can all rally around these causes, get involved, and make a difference. Alone we are all just pebbles, together we are all the pebbles that can build a road.

Check out the star of Broadway's Matilda shine her spotlight on animal adoption: