Hollywood hearthrob Boris Kodjoe spoke at a graduation in Harlem on Friday where he wowed the crowd but touched on a very serious medical issue that hits close to home. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
Graduating nursing students could barely maintain their composure when actor Boris Kodjoe entered the room to deliver the commencement address for Helene Fuld College of Nursing in Harlem.
But the popular actor of BET's "Real Husbands of Hollywood" had a serious message for future nurses. He and his actress wife Nicole Ari Parker are the parents of a 9-year-old girl who was diagnosed at birth with spina bifida, a defect in the spinal cord and the bones of the backbone.
He sang the praises of nurses who stood by his family when his baby was hospitalized.
"At first it's a shock. There's a lot of pain associated with a special needs situation like my daughter's but we learn from her," Kodjoe said.
The former model who People Magazine crowned one of the most beautiful people in the world says his primary focus is to raise funds for "Sophie's Voice Foundation" in honor his daughter - to raise awareness about the condition which has no cure.
“We’ve been able to start the center for spina bifida research and prevention in Atlanta and touched a lot of people and try to reduce the number of birth defects worldwide," he said.
The actor, who is of German and African descent, is also busy with a lot of other projects. He has a fashion line called Alfa, or Affordable Luxury for All, but he says his heart and soul is with finding a cure for birth defects and he called the graduating class of nurses future leaders who can help him with his mission.
To learn more about Boris' charity, visit sophiesvoicefoundation.org.