In a vibrant example of the old adage “It takes a village to raise a child,” Malibu is coming together to help five of its children. A newly formed nonprofit, Jordanou Rescue, is staging a fundraiser next week at the famous Malibu Inn to benefit some local youngsters experiencing tragic life events coming at them way too soon.
“A Night of Pure Love,” set for Feb. 14, was organized by Malibu moms—filmmaker Amy Williams and actress Kimberly Russell—to raise means for the five children of Marie Jordanou, who is battling cancer and in critical condition at the USC Cancer Center. It also seeks to raise awareness of the plight of single mothers suffering from illness.
“Marie is one of the strongest women and best mothers I know,” Williams said. “When I found out how sick she is and knew that there was no other family to help her, I knew I had to do something.”
Jordanou’s children attend school with Williams’ youngsters at Juan Cabrillo and Malibu High. They were PTA comrades whose kids would alternate play dates when, last summer, Jordanou was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, which has metastasized throughout her body. The prognosis is grim.
Jordanou had been a real estate mortgage broker, but has been unable to work for quite some time. Her medical bills have been astronomical, and the family home is in danger of foreclosure. Savings have been exhausted and there are no family members able to step in and help.
Williams and Russell, whose children also are mutual friends with the Jordanous, decided to stage a game-changer.
“We thought that a big, visible fundraiser, with great entertainment and food at a really affordable price would get the ball rolling,” Williams said. “So we set it up for Valentine’s Day, because really, this is all about the purest love there is. Love for children.”
Both women have been trading duties to help keep the Jordanou siblings together, in school classes and supervised during their mother’s illness. The five children, Ariana (14), Athina (13), Aristotelis (11), and twins Niki and Stasi (short for Aniketos and Anastasis, 9), have the frantic school/play/sports schedule of any Malibu youngster, requiring some creative coordination.
“These kids are really wonderful,” Russell, whose husband, Michael Bonewitz, set up the nonprofit to help pay for the children’s future expenses, said. “They are Malibu’s children and everyone has been wonderful in helping with this event. Particularly Nick. He’s amazing.”
That would be local rocker Nick Richards of the ‘80s boy band Boys Don’t Cry. Richards has organized fundraisers for a number of worthy local causes in the past few years, including Malibu’s public schools. He usually taps his Rolodex of extensive contacts in the rock world and snares headlining acts into giving a hand to those who need it most.
For Valentine’s Day, Richards has organized a crowd-pleasing lineup, including the vintage gothic rock band Gene Loves Jezebel, pop sensation Kelly Moneymaker (formerly with ExposÈ) and new singer-songwriter Ruxandra. And, of course, Boys Don’t Cry. He is keeping the headliner a secret until the day of the event, but has promised exciting names, in keeping with the “celebrity studded, red carpet” concert he expects.
“Marie is a Brit like me and my children are great friends with all the Jordanou kids,” Richards said. “This vibe is Malibu pulling together, basically. We can’t help Marie, but we can help the five kids’ futures.”
Williams said that offers of donations and help are coming at her from all sides, even one young woman who didn’t know the Jordanou family but said that she had lost her own mother at a young age and wanted to do whatever she could to help.
“We’ve got a great silent auction, with people donating massages and artwork and jewelry,” she said. “We’ll have terrific appetizers and desserts, and Semler wines is sponsoring. I’m hoping to see everyone in Malibu there. These children need our support.”
Russell, an actress whose career was launched with the ‘80s television series “Head of the Class,” is particularly struggling with her friend’s plight.
“Marie was always about living healthy and being the best, present, loving parent in the world,” Russell said. “This is not fair. But I am determined these children will stay together here in Malibu where they’ve grown up. We all have to help. Kiss your loved ones today. Because life is so uncertain.”
“A Night of Pure Love” takes place February 14 at the Malibu Inn. Tickets may be purchased at the door at 6 p.m. More information about this story can be found at www.jordanourescue.org.