CNN awards 2018 Hero of the Year

Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong was named the 2018 CNN Hero of the Year for his efforts to provide free housing, meals and support for sick children and their families while they undergo treatment.

Posted: Dec 10, 2018 10:48 PM
Updated: Dec 10, 2018 11:03 PM

For Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong, being a physician isn't just about treating patients -- it's about how you care for their families.

As a doctor undergoing his medical training in Lima, Peru, Pun-Chong treated many children who traveled with their parents from rural parts of the country. And for most, it's a dangerous journey -- over mountains, across rivers and along unsafe roads, all for medical treatment.

Once in Lima, far from home and often unable to afford lengthy hotel stays, Pun-Chong saw many families forced to curl up on the hospital floors.

"I couldn't get the picture of the families sleeping on the floor out of my mind," Pun-Chong told CNN earlier this year. "So, I decided to do something for them."

On Sunday night, Pun-Chong was named the 2018 CNN Hero of the Year for his efforts to provide free housing, meals and support for sick children and their families while they undergo treatment. The award is determined by online voters who selected Pun-Chong from among the Top 10 CNN Heroes finalists.

In 2008, he founded a shelter and a nonprofit called Inspira and to date, his organization has helped more than 800 families. The shelter was designed to make the children feel at home and to provide a space for kids to "be kids."

Pun-Chong will receive $100,000 to grow his cause. All of the top 10 CNN Heroes for 2018 will receive a $10,000 cash award, and donations made to each of their nonprofit organizations are also being matched up to $50,000.

"We can start building our new shelter with this -- with this prize, we can triple our assistance," Pun-Chong said. "Thank you so much CNN -- thank you so much everybody."

He was presented with the Hero of the Year award by hosts Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa.

"The real heroes are our kids," Pun-Chong said. "Infinite thank yous to each one of you for trusting us and showing us that love has no borders."

Sunday's CNN Heroes Top 10 tribute show was chock full of stars and good vibes, laughs and some tears -- but only the happy kind.

Ripa and Cooper emceed the show from New York's American Museum of Natural History, and Grammy Award winner Lenny Kravitz got the crowd moving by performing the song "Here to Love" from his album "Raise Vibration."

Will Ferrell, Bryan Cranston, Danai Gurira, John C. Reilly and Ted Danson were among the stars in attendance. And even Sully, former President George H.W. Bush's service dog, was on hand ... err, paw ... to celebrate an incredible cast of everyday heroes.

Here's how the rest of the top 10 CNN Heroes are changing lives in their communities:

  • Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, a computer programmer in Lagos, Nigeria, teaches impoverished women in the city's slums how to code through a program run by the Pearls Africa Foundation.

  • Maria Rose Belding launched MEANS, a platform that reduces food waste by connecting restaurants and businesses with extra food to charities that feed the hungry.

  • After she was paralyzed in a ski accident, Amanda Boxtel started Bridging Bionics -- a nonprofit that provides high-tech physical therapy to people with mobility impairments near Aspen, Colorado.

  • Dr. Rob Gore, an emergency physician in Brooklyn, New York, founded the Kings Against Violence Initiative, which leads anti-violence programs in his community.

  • Luke Mickelson quit his high-paying job to found Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a nonprofit that builds and delivers beds to children in need.

  • Susan Munsey escaped from a life of sex trafficking and in 2009 started GenerateHope, a group that provides housing, therapy and more to survivors of sex trafficking.

  • At age 87, Florence Phillips still leads her nonprofit -- ESL In-Home Program of Northern Nevada -- which provides free English, computer and GED classes to immigrants.

  • Ellen Stackable is a former English teacher who founded Poetic Justice, a nonprofit that teaches creative writing to incarcerated women in Oklahoma.

Also honored Sunday were the 2018 CNN Heroes Young Wonders, an impressive group who despite their young age, are already making the world a better place. This year's class is working to eliminate plastic bags, feed the homeless and much more.

Beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 9, donations made to the designated nonprofit organization of each Top 10 CNN Hero, via CNNHeroes.com and crowdrise.com/cnnheroes, will be matched by Subaru up to $50,000 per Hero through January 2, 2019.

Now in its 12th year, the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" has profiled more than 300 heroes and has received nearly 100,000 nominations from more than 100 countries.

To learn more, like CNN Heroes on Facebook, follow @CNNHeroes on Twitter and use hashtag #CNNHeroes. Behind-the-scenes images can be seen on the CNN Heroes Instagram account.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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