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Jon Bon Jovi, Kelly Marie Tran among the celebrities at this year's CNN Heroes All-Star Gala

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10:13 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

Our live coverage has ended. Read below to see how the night unfolded.

10:14 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

And the 2019 CNN Hero of the year is ... Freweini Mebrahtu!

CNN
CNN

Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa announced that Freweini Mebrahtu is the 2019 CNN Hero of the Year.

Mebrahtu was honored for her incredible work to remove the cultural stigma around periods in parts of the developing world.

She designed and patented a reusable menstrual pad in 2005, and she and her team produce 750,000 reusable pads a year at her factory in Ethiopia. Nearly 800,000 girls and women have benefited from her work.

More than 80% of the pads she manufactures are sold to non-governmental organizations that distribute them for free.

"This is for all the girls and women everywhere. Dignity for all," Mebrahtu said as she accepted her award.

As the 2019 CNN Hero of the Year, Mebrahtu will receive $100,000 to expand her work. All of the top 10 CNN Heroes for 2019 were honored at Sunday's gala and will receive a $10,000 cash award.

Watch the moment the winner is announced:

9:55 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

CNN Hero Mark Meyers honored for creating a sanctuary for abused and neglected donkeys

CNN
CNN

Mark Meyers gave up his career to start the largest sanctuary for neglected and abused donkeys. Today, his nonprofit Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue has rescued 13,000 animals to date.

Meyers didn't always feel so strongly about donkeys. In 1999, he was living outside Los Angeles and working as an electrical contractor when his wife bought a donkey as a companion for their dog. 

“We fell in love with her," Meyers said. "She opened our eyes to the donkey problem. We started noticing donkeys in need everywhere."

Many donkeys are purchased or adopted by people who ultimately can't properly care for them, resulting in ill treatment. And when wild-roaming burros overpopulate and damage areas of the western United States, they are rounded up and sent to corrals to manage their numbers 

The couple started buying abused or neglected donkeys -- they had overgrown hooves, some were malnourished, and others were so badly beaten that if Meyers touched them, they'd start shaking and fall.

By 2005, Meyers and his wife had 250 donkeys on their land. They moved to a ranch outside San Angelo, Texas and today they have the largest donkey sanctuary in the US.

Meyers’ nonprofit has expanded to two additional ranches in Virginia and Arizona, and has rescued over 13,000 donkeys.

"We have the opportunity to save an entire species with your help," he said as he received his Top 10 CNN Heroes award and $10,000 toward his nonprofit.

Meyers was presented his award by actor and fellow donkey lover Thomas Sadoski, star of the HBO series "The Newsroom."

Read more about Meyers’ work here and tune into the "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" right now on CNN TV and CNNgo to see who is named CNN Hero of the Year.

Click here to donate to this cause and the others supported by the 2019 CNN Heroes Top 10.

9:45 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

Richard Miles spent 15 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Now he's a Top 10 CNN Hero.

CNN
CNN

Richard Miles was a teenager when he was arrested and accused of murder. At 20, he was sentenced to 60 years behind bars.

He was an innocent man.

Miles spent the next 15 years in a Texas prison. When he was released in 2009 at the age of 34, he struggled for nearly two years to get back on his feet.

But his own struggles and seeing other formerly incarcerated individuals in the same situation were the impetus to start what is now Miles of Freedom, a nonprofit in Dallas that aims to help people transition and stay out of prison.

Miles of Freedom assists individuals returning home from prison by helping them obtain identification, enroll in college and secure housing, as well as computer and career training, financial literacy programs and job placement.

"I'm only one voice but tonight I want to be a megaphone for the thousands of men and women fighting for justice after a wrongful conviction, and for the communities rebuilding their lives with loved ones after incarceration," Miles said as he accepted his Top 10 CNN Heroes award from Alfre Woodard, star of the upcoming film “Clemency.”

Read more about Miles' work and tune into the "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" right now on CNN TV and CNNgo to see who is named CNN Hero of the Year.

Click here to donate to this cause and the others supported by the 2019 CNN Heroes Top 10.

9:39 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

CNN Hero Freweini Mebrahtu honored for removing the cultural stigma around women's periods

CNN
CNN

When Freweini Mebrahtu left her home country of Ethiopia to study chemical engineering in the United States, she couldn't believe her eyes when she entered an American drugstore.

"I saw overwhelming choices of sanitary pads," she said.

In Ethiopia -- and many other parts of the world -- disposable sanitary products are very expensive and often unavailable, so nearly 75% of Ethiopian women and girls don't have access to the menstrual supplies they need to manage their periods.

The situation has serious consequences. On average, one in 10 girls in Ethiopia miss school for reasons related to their periods; in some rural areas, this number rises to almost 50%. Missing school can lead girls to fall behind in class and eventually drop out.

So Mebrahtu returned to Ethiopia where she designed and patented a reusable menstrual pad in 2005. She and her team produce 750,000 reusable pads a year at her factory in Ethiopia. Nearly 800,000 girls and women have benefited from her work.

More than 80% of the pads she manufactures are sold to non-governmental organizations that distribute them for free.

Mebrahtu teamed up with the nonprofit, Dignity Period, to end the stigma around the issue by speaking at schools and teaching girls and boys that menstruation is natural, not shameful.

"There is an African proverb, sticks in a bundle are unbreakable," she said Sunday night as she accepted her Top 10 CNN Heroes award and $10,000 toward her nonprofit.

She thanked all the people, including the women who work in her factory, for supporting her cause.

"These people are all part of my bundle ... Reach out and help your sisters -- together we can make this issue a thing of the past."

Mebrahtu was honored by actress Katherine McNamara, who stars in the TV series "Arrow" based on the DC Comics character "Green Arrow."

Read more about Mebrahtu’s work here and tune into the "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" right now on CNN TV and CNNgo to see who is named CNN Hero of the Year.

Click here to donate to this cause and the others supported by the 2019 CNN Heroes Top 10.

9:24 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

CNN Hero Mary Robinson honored for helping kids learn how to mourn

CNN
CNN

Mary Robinson founded the nonprofit Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss to create what she didn't have after her father died when she was 14 -- a place to grieve.

At her center in Mountainside, New Jersey, children learn how to deal with their grief with other children who have lost a parent, brother or sister.

Support starts with a pizza dinner, giving everyone a chance to socialize. Then family members and volunteers form a circle and pass around a "talking stick," introducing themselves and saying who they've lost.

"Please help us ensure that no child has to grieve alone," she said after receiving her Top 10 CNN Heroes award and $10,000 toward her nonprofit.

Anderson Cooper, who lost his father when he was almost 10 years old - and said he found it hard to talk about for a long time - honored Robinson at tonight's event.

Read more about Robinson’s work here and tune into the "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" right now on CNN TV and CNNgo to see who is named CNN Hero of the Year.

Click here to donate to this cause and the others supported by the 2019 CNN Heroes Top 10.

9:17 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

CNN Hero Staci Alonso: 'This is for the courageous women ... '

CNN
CNN

Top 10 CNN Hero Staci Alonso knows first-hand the powerful bond that can exist between a woman and her pet.

In 2004, when she was serving as a board member of a women's shelter, she discovered that women fleeing domestic abuse often had nowhere to go because shelters wouldn't accept their pets -- fewer than 10% of domestic violence shelters provide some sort of pet service.

To help break this barrier, in 2007, she opened Noah's Animal House, a full-service pet shelter located right on the grounds of a domestic violence shelter in Las Vegas.

Women have traveled from 21 states to get to Noah's Animal House, and last year, she opened a second location in Reno.

Noah's House staff take care of the pets while the women are looking for jobs, going to therapy or taking care of themselves.

"We can't ask women to choose between leaving and leaving their pets behind to be abused," Alonso said as she accepted her award.

"Thank you CNN for this honor and awareness that will bring more victims and their pets to our door."

Alonso was honored by actress Julia Stiles, star of "Silver Linings Playbook" and "10 Things I Hate About You."

Learn more about Alonso's work and tune into the "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" right now on CNN TV and CNNgo to see who is named CNN Hero of the Year.

Click here to donate to this cause and the others supported by the 2019 CNN Heroes Top 10.

9:02 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

CNN Hero Roger Montoya honored for bringing arts to kids living in an area devastated by opioids

CNN
CNN

Roger Montoya had been a professional dancer in New York, but by the late 1980s, he was HIV-positive and had lost his partner and many friends to AIDS. Returning to New Mexico, he felt like he was coming home to die.

Immersing himself in painting, a lifelong passion, helped restore his health.

Now, Montoya brings the healing power of the arts to local children in northern New Mexico, a center of the opioid epidemic with one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the country.

His nonprofit, Moving Arts Española has provided arts classes, free meals, tutoring and support to more than 5,000 children and youth since 2008.

"What a gift to return to New York City 30 years later to accept this recognition," Montoya said after receiving his Top 10 CNN Heroes award and $10,000 toward his nonprofit.

"I have seen children move from trauma and constriction to trust ... When we lift just one child, we all rise."

Montoya was honored by actress Judith Light from the Amazon series "Transparent," the Netflix series "The Politician," and the 1980s TV show "Who's The Boss?"

Read more about Montoya's work here and tune into the "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" right now on CNN TV and CNNgo to see who is named CNN Hero of the Year.

Click here to donate to this cause and the others supported by the 2019 CNN Heroes Top 10.

9:12 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

CNN Hero Najah Bazzy honored for helping Detroit's impoverished women and children

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

In 1996, Najah Bazzy was working as a nurse when she visited an Iraqi refugee family to help care for their dying infant. What she found was a family living in abject poverty, without even a refrigerator or stove to cook on.

That day, Bazzy and her family gathered all the furniture and household items that they could -- including a crib -- and delivered everything to the family. She hasn't stopped since.

For years, Bazzy ran her goodwill effort from her home, transporting donated goods in her family's minivan. Eventually, her efforts grew into Zaman International, a nonprofit that now supports impoverished women and children of all backgrounds in the Detroit area.

Today, Zaman runs a 40,000-square-foot facility in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, and the group has helped provide more than 250,000 people with food, clothes and furniture free of charge.

"When Zaman unlocks the shackles of poverty, mothers are able to realize their full human potential and create a dignified life for their children," Bazzy said during the show as she accepted her award.

Bazzy was honored by Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress Rose Byrne and her partner, Emmy Award-winning actor Bobby Cannavale.

Learn more about Bazzy's work and tune into the "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" right now on CNN TV and CNNgo to see who is named CNN Hero of the Year.

Click here to donate to this cause and the others supported by the 2019 CNN Heroes Top 10.