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Special Celebration Honors Brilliant COVID-19 Scientists and Everyday Heroes

·2-min read

IRVINE, Calif., December 01, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An international Celebration of Heroes culminates next spring in a unique gathering in Orange County, California of scientists from around the world responsible for the discovery, development, and deployment of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines.

The Celebration will also recognize everyday heroes from the healthcare field to teachers, friends and families who performed extraordinary services for those the pandemic touched.

The Celebration is the brainchild of two longtime Orange County philanthropists, Douglas Freeman, who along with President Ronald Reagan, created National Philanthropy Day, and Charlie Zhang, who created several multi-million-dollar businesses.

"Our nation and the world have been hit hard, and Orange County alone has had more than 300,000 cases and 5,300 deaths," said Freeman. "But it would have been worse had it not been for the physical, mental, and financial sacrifices made by men and women in health care, the scientists whose knowledge, skill and tenacity helped us resume our lives, our schools and our businesses, and everyday-everywhere pandemic heroes."

Featured scientists, representing hundreds, include Dr. Katalin Karikó and Dr. Drew Weissman, both from the University of Pennsylvania. Their groundbreaking work, starting back in 1985 is the foundation for the science that directly led to two of the successful vaccines.

To submit a brief nomination of an everyday hero, visit

A panel of judges will review the submissions and up to 200 nominees will be selected to come to the Celebration and represent all the nominees throughout Orange County. Nominations will be accepted through January 31, 2022.

The Celebration’s Hummingbird Award for achieving the nearly impossible to benefit humanity will be presented to the scientists and selected everyday heroes.

Celebration events:

  • Friday, April 29, 2022, the scientists will participate in a press conference at the National Academy of Sciences at UCI, followed by a panel for the general public, including a Q&A session.

  • Saturday, April 30, 2022, the honorees will be hosted at a reception, dinner and concert for guests and honorees at the Westin Anaheim Resort. A limited number of tickets will be available to the public via the website.

"We are also in discussions with the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. to host an event sometime in April that would enable our Distinguished Scientists to engage with their colleagues and national press," said Freeman.

Nonprofit Charitable Ventures of Orange County ( is the Celebration’s fiscal sponsor.

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Dan Pittman
714 397 1932

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