Cumberbatch, Crow among celebs to honor CNN Heroes

Story highlights

This year's Top 10 CNN Heroes were honored at an annual tribute show in New York

The show re-airs Saturday, December 13, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Presenters include Benedict Cumberbatch, Questlove, Christina Hendricks and more

The event also features musical performances by Sheryl Crow and Trisha Yearwood

CNN  — 

They protect lions, teach music to injured soldiers and open new worlds to autistic youth.

They help children who are fighting cancer, poverty and a lack of opportunity.

These are the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2014.

Celebrity presenters are joining CNN in honoring the Top 10 CNN Heroes – everyday people doing extraordinary things to help change the world. “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” re-airs Saturday, December 13, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Among the celebrity presenters are actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Christina Hendricks, Taye Diggs, Rosie Perez, Uzo Aduba and John Leguizamo. Also appearing will be comedian Kathy Griffin, musician Questlove of The Roots, Kelly Ripa of “Live with Kelly and Michael” and Morgan Spurlock of CNN’s “Inside Man.”

The event also includes musical performances by Sheryl Crow and Trisha Yearwood. Yearwood will be singing her latest song, “PrizeFighter,” while Crow will be performing “Wide River to Cross” with CNN Hero Arthur Bloom and his MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band.

Each celebrity presenter will join one of the Top 10 Heroes on stage to share their inspirational story about the important work they do, whether it’s helping children with cancer, saving lions in Africa or reuniting soldiers with the stray animals they took in while serving their country overseas.

The CNN Hero of the Year, chosen by CNN’s audience in an online vote, is announced at the tribute event. The Hero of the Year will receive $100,000 for his or her cause. That’s in addition to the $25,000 each Hero receives just for making the Top 10.

5 inspiring reasons to watch “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute”

Musician Nick Jonas, actor Tyler James Williams and actress Quvenzhane Wallis will also be on hand to present awards to remarkable “young wonders” who are doing their part to help change their communities.

The stories of this year’s Top 10 Heroes, who were nominated by CNN’s global audience and profiled earlier this year on CNN, can be found at Through Amazon Payments, anyone who wants to contribute can make a direct charitable donation to a Hero’s designated nonprofit until December 31.

Since 2007, the CNN Heroes campaign has profiled more than 200 people on CNN and It has also received more than 50,000 nominations from more than 100 countries.

“It has been CNN’s great honor for the past eight years to shine a spotlight on these remarkable individuals who are making a difference in their communities and the world,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide. “We are proud to provide a platform for these heroes to share their stories and their important work with our global audiences.”

Here are the top 10 Heroes of 2014, in alphabetical order:

Arthur Bloom
Arthur Bloom has used the healing power of music to help hundreds of injured soldiers recover their lives. His program, MusiCorps, pairs professional musicians with troops recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, helping them play instruments and write and record music. “By injecting music into this space, we can inject life,” Bloom said. “There’s nothing injured about the way they do it. It’s just good music.”

Jon Burns
Jon Burns is rallying fellow soccer fans to help children from poor communities in cities hosting the World Cup and other major tournaments. Since 2006, his nonprofit, Lionsraw, has engaged more than 500 volunteers in construction projects and educational programs that have benefitted nearly 6,000 children. “We’re trying to harness the passion of football fans to make a difference,” he said.

Pen Farthing
Pen Farthing, a former Royal Marine Sergeant, is reuniting soldiers with the stray dogs they befriend while serving in Afghanistan. His nonprofit, Nowzad Dogs – named for the stray Farthing rescued during his tour – has helped more than 700 soldiers from eight countries. “My connection with Afghanistan stayed alive because of Nowzad,” Farthing said. “To be able to get that animal home to them, it closes the loop.”

Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg
Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg lost his 2-year-old daughter to leukemia in 1981. Today, his nonprofit, Kids Kicking Cancer, uses martial arts to help children battling serious illnesses manage pain during medical treatments. The group has provided free lessons and support for 5,000 children and their families. “They’re often so afraid,” Goldberg said. “We teach kids how to control their pain and make them feel powerful.”

Leela Hazzah
Leela Hazzah has dedicated her life to lion conservation. In 2007, she started Lion Guardians, a nonprofit that works with African Maasai warriors to protect lions. The group now employs more than 70 Lion Guardians throughout East Africa and has helped the lion population grow. “I know we’re making a difference,” Hazzah said. “When I first moved here, I never heard lions roaring. But now I hear lions roaring all the time.”

Patricia Kelly
Patricia Kelly is using horses to motivate at-risk children in Hartford, Connecticut. Her nonprofit, Ebony Horsewomen, provides horseback riding lessons and teaches animal science to more than 300 young people a year. “We use horses as a hook to create pride, esteem and healing,” said Kelly. “They learn that they have ability. They just have to unlock it.”

Annette March-Grier
Annette March-Grier grew up in her family’s funeral home. After her mother’s death, she created Roberta’s House, a nonprofit in Baltimore that helps children and their families cope with grief. Since 2008, more than 1,000 children have benefited from the group’s free programs. “We’re giving families in this city a sense of hope,” she said. “We’re helping to heal wounds and bring families back together again.”

Ned Norton
For the last 25 years, Ned Norton has provided strength and conditioning training to people living with a variety of disabilities. He now trains more than 120 people every week through his nonprofit, Warriors on Wheels. “I’m building them up, building them stronger, so they can go out and live life like they’re supposed to.” Norton said.

Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes
Amid the violence in his native Guatemala, Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes turned his family’s home into a haven for young people. Since 2006, his nonprofit, Los Patojos (the Little Ones), has provided educational opportunities and support to more than 1,000 children. I want to inspire these kids,” he said. “They are the ones in charge of writing the new history in Guatemala.”

Dr. Wendy Ross
Dr. Wendy Ross is opening new worlds to autistic children and their families. Since 2010, her nonprofit, Autism Inclusion Resources, has helped hundreds of families navigate challenging social situations, such as sporting events and airport travel. “If you start taking steps outside of your door, your world gets bigger and bigger,” said Ross. “We just want people to have opportunities.”

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