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Update on the Massacre and Standoff on Mumbai; A Night for CNN Heroes

Aired November 27, 2008 - 23:00   ET


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Gary Tuchman at the CNN Center at Atlanta with "Breaking News" on the massacre and deadly standoff on Mumbai.
The very latest, you will see it here; Indian forces raiding a Jewish center where a number of gunmen where believed to be holed up this after a day and night of gunfire and explosions at two hotels. At least 125 dead and many more wounded.

The Associated Press reporting two Americans are unaccounted for and three injured. A picture of the attacks coming into focus, the what and the how, but less so the who and on whose orders.

CNN's Andrew Stevens has more and all of it started with what's going on at the Jewish Center. He joins us now by phone from outside the Chabad House Jewish Center in Mumbai -- Andrew.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the firefight is still going on it has dipped in intensity somewhat but it has now being going on for about two and a half hours; in fact it start when three helicopters dropped the paratroopers coming down on zip ropes and on the roofs on buildings. And followed by entry -- and we didn't actually see the entry and we heard a lot of small arms fired.

We have been hearing repeated explosions for over the past two hours. This is not over yet. We don't have a clear understanding of the hostages. We believe that there are about four hostages in there, the rabbi, his wife and two guests and perhaps younger members of the rabbi's family.

As far as the gunmen are concerned that is an unknown at this stage, but certainly there has been some intense fighting going on which does suggest that they may be settled in that building. We've seen helicopters coming in repeatedly and also ambulances lining up although they haven't gotten too close to this ongoing firefight -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Andrew, thank you very much. CNN's Andrew Stevens in Mumbai.

We'll be following developments throughout the night and into the morning with "American Morning."

Stay tuned now for "Larry King Live;" "A Night for Heroes".

LARRY KING, CNN "LARRY KING LIVE" ANCHOR: It's "A Night for Heroes." They had confronted the worst in life and made the best of it.

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE, ACTRESS: If some things happen then it becomes an opportunity, in that moment there was a lot of rush inside of me to make my life better.

KING: Overcoming odds with positive thoughts.

ALICIA KEYS, SINGER: The orphanages erected and clinics built and pediatric wings exist that didn't before.

KING: And by taking action.

MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER BASKETBALL PLAYER: It's not whether you can blessed; it's now how many people you can bless and help them rise and be successful.

KING: With grace and good humor.

BILL MAHER: George Carlin, he certainly was a hero of mine.

KING: Tonight Bill Maher, Will.I.Am, Christina Applegate, Alisha Keys, Magic Johnson and Sheryl Crow challenge the way we view others and ourselves.

Let's see who inspires them and why they want you to know who they are. It's a night for heroes right now on a special edition of "LARRY KING LIVE."

It's our Thanksgiving Special devoted to heroes.

But certainly fitting in that category Miss Christina Applegate, the actress you know her from the hit show, "Samantha Who," she is a survivor of breast cancer. And with her is Michael Bernard Beckwith, the spiritual teacher of "The Secret," remember him on this show previous, he's the founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center and his new book is "Spiritual Liberation, Fulfilling Your Souls' Potential."

Let's discuss first what happened to Christina. You've got a lot of tragedy hit you in a short period of time right?


KING: You do.

APPLEGATE: In a couple of months that way I can just sort of move on and live my life joyfully and blissfully.

KING: How were you told you had breast cancer?

APPLEGATE: I was told on the phone. I had been waiting for a few days. I had gone to New York to do press for "Samantha Who" and I kind of had an idea that that was going to be the answer.

KING: You had a mammogram? APPLEGATE: I had an MRI and a biopsy, they have found something on my MRI and did biopsy a needle biopsy and I was waiting for the results of that.

KING: So you weren't shocked?

APPLEGATE: You never want to hear those words. It's not really something that I ever thought I would hear, but yes I mean I was shocked but somewhere in me just had this idea that it was going to be positive.

KING: And you knew it would have to be surgery?

APPLEGATE: Well, I mean there are so many other avenues, had I really talked to Michael first, I might have gone a different way. First I had to do a lumpectomy which removals the cancer from the area, and normally you would have radiation after that.

For me radiation just it didn't fit right with the way that I think. I didn't feel like putting a bunch of radiation inside. It didn't make any sense to me.

KING: We'll bring Michael in a moment.


KING: But does it do to you -- we know physically what it takes out what does it do to you mentally --

APPLEGATE: To find out that --

KING: To find out and go through all that?

APPLEGATE: These things happen and they become opportunities for me. That's something actually that as we get to Michael, something that I've learned from him is that these things happen and it becomes an opportunity.

In that moment there was a lot of rush inside of me to make my life better, to remove stress from my life, to find new ways of eating, with healing foods. To sort of be pro-active with this, but it also, of course, you face this idea that this thing called life, this body, this place that we're here right now is a transient place, it's not permanent. And you face that idea that someday you are not going to be here.

KING: You're only borrowing it.

APPLEGATE: Yes and it's fragile so --

KING: Weeks before having both breasts removed, two of your cats died. It wasn't easy.


KING: Your ex-birthday Lee Grivas was also found dead of an apparent drug overdose. How did you deal with that?

APPLEGATE: Some days I'm still dealing with it. I think that my cats and Lee actually were more devastating to me than even this.

KING: Really.

APPLEGATE: And actually that happening -- when he passed happened right before my surgery and so my surgery became really sort of secondary and wasn't that big of a deal anymore.

KING: Now in a sense, is Michael your hero?

APPLEGATE: Absolutely Michael is my hero.

KING: How did you discover him?

APPLEGATE: You know, it was divine intervention really in my life it was one of those things that happened I had been going to religious science church since I was seven years old. And the reverend there said we have a visiting minister Reverend Michael Beckwith from Agape church. And I guess Michael stood up behind me and everyone applauded and I didn't turn around and I applauded and everything and then I literally couldn't get him out of my mind. This man that I haven't seen or knew anything about --


APPLEGATE: No I've never heard you speak and the next day I said something to my mother about it and I said you know it's so strange I really -- that man just --

KING: Was this before this happened to you?

APPLEGATE: Yes, this was 13 or 14 years ago. She said well there they are, they are on the cover of the L.A. Times, you know like the calendar section or something and it was the Agape church. And it was a picture of Ricky Buyers Beckwith's wife and singing with the choir and I said I need to go to this church. And so I went to that church.

KING: Why didn't you go to him then when the breast cancer was involved?

APPLEGATE: I did, we did talk. And I think that with all these things that were happening --

BECKWITH: We did have conversation and we did have prayer.

APPLEGATE: Yes, we did have a lot of contact through that.

KING: What do you do for people like Christina?

BECKWITH: There's a couple of things we do, first of all we try to center them and get them out of the fear and out of the anxiety and out of the sense of hopelessness to begin to understand that whatever is happening there's something within you, there's something within Christina that is bigger than the experience that's going on.

And she has made herself available to come out of the fear, out of the sense of depression and that she could go on. So it's a matter of shifting the attention.

KING: Since you are associated with a church do you have to believe in a higher something?

BECKWITH: Well, it's a spiritual community that believes that there is infinite potential within us. You can call that potential God, you can call it life, you can it love. We just seek to call it forth as the activity of our awareness.

APPLEGATE: Yes, I actually I was going to say, right after I found out, I went to church. I mean that was the first thing I wanted to do. I knew it's going to be the safest place for me to be. And I called Michael beforehand and right afterwards we went to his office and prayed for a really long time. And it was really exactly what I needed.

KING: And then I'll ask why you didn't lose the faith. I guess Christina Applegate and Michael Bernard Beckwith are here on this very special heroes show on this Thanksgiving.

We'll be right back.


KING: By the way, Christina, what is a hero to you?

APPLEGATE: A hero to me is someone who really stands in what they believe in, lives what they teach, inspires other people. That's, you know -- I mean there are many people like that, that just even come across it without even knowing they are even being that to a lot of people. And there are people like Michael who I look at and aspire to have the wisdom and knowledge and the awareness of who he is as a spiritual being on this planet. And he inspires millions.

KING: And he does, you are constantly changing peoples lives such as Christina's all over the world. You have to look at you, everyone has some ego. You have to think of yourself heroically.

BECHWITH: I don't think of myself as a hero.

KING: You don't?

BECKWITH: No, I see more as a servant.

KING: How do you see Christina?

BECKWITH: I see Christina now stepping up into the hero realm primarily because she has taken this particular experience and instead of allowing it to take her into a cesspool of negativity, she's asking how can I serve. So now she is allowing this experience to be the catalyst for her to help other people, to help other women in circumstances similar to her own, so she's becoming a hero to many people.

KING: Why didn't you Christina, logically turn away from faith? I mean look at this and say, look at what's happened to me.

APPLEGATE: I don't know, I wasn't going to let this get to me. There is just innately in me I have the teachings of what I believe in, which is God is more than this. And also in situations like this something that Michael said to me actually a couple a few years ago, when I broke my foot when I was doing Broadway.

He said you don't have the luxury of negative thought right now. There is only one thing that you can know, and that's healing.

KING: What, to you, is a hero?

BECKWITH: An individual that is an example of living their fullest potential and serving and having compassion along the way.

KING: So Christina is a hero?

BECKWITH: Yes. She's stepping up to the plate; she had a lot of talents, a lot of gifts. She went through a devastating situation and then she said you know what there are people that are going through this that don't have the resources that I have, I want to help them. So now she's coming out of herself and she's becoming a hero for a hero.

KING: Has this made you a better performer do you think?

APPLEGATE: My fear level and the guards that I put up as a performer started to really break down after doing "Sweet Charity" and all of the things that I went through, through that. And that was an evolution as an actor of kind of coming home from New York and there was just this feeling of you know what bring it on, and there wasn't. I didn't walk into work and walk into the parts that I was doing with second guessing myself.

And I think each of these things that happen sort of bring me a bit closer to what I do, do as a performer. And I have definitely a lot less fear when it comes to that. I mean I always check in I always want to be better, I'm always wanting to grow as an actor, but I don't have that fear level or that ego attached to it as much as I think did at one time.

And I also, if you are an actor and people put so much emphasis on that as that being purpose of someone's life.

KING: Tell me about your foundation, "Right Action for Women."

APPLEGATE: "Right Action for Women" what our objective is to raise money to help pay for women's MRI's and any kind of new screening that might be coming out on the market, to pay for the rocket testing if they so choose to do so if that's something that's the direction they want to go, any biopsies that they have to have.

Because insurance doesn't cover that so I was fortunate to have -- I have very good insurance, so it did, but most women don't.

KING: And we don't want to forget Michael's new book about spiritual revolutionaries; this month also marks the 22nd anniversary of the Agape International Spiritual Center. For more information about their services go to -- that is one word -- and the book is "Spiritual Liberation fulfilling you soul's potential." He's the featured teacher by the way in "The Secret" and of course Christina Applegate, thank you very much. Happy Thanksgiving, and we'll be right back.


KING: Sheryl Crow, Sheryl what's a hero to you?

SHERYL CROW, DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER IN 2006: It's hard to define. I would say someone who manages to know who they are and walk a narrow path. It's based in humility as well as philanthropy.

I would say Paul Newman is a great example of that. Some who managed to have an illustrious career that was admirable and had integrity and obviously had a great relationship and stayed kind of out of the world and did amazing philanthropic work.

KING: Would he be at the top of your list?

CROW: If you give at the top of my list I think Muhammad Ali would be at the top of my list. I think Bob Dylan artistically is probably a hero for me.

CROW: What did you learned from Paul Newman?

CROW: I think Paul Newman was just an amazingly a classy person who does not need to be the center of attention, seemingly obviously you knew him but he seemed to be egoless. He seemed to really love the work he was doing with the cancer camps that he had and the philanthropy work that he did with "Newman's Own."

And his work was always impeccable and he was always the best thing in everything that he did. And I think that he valued his marriage. I just think all of the tenets that made him who he was were very classy.

KING: Bill Maher, have you or do you have a hero?

BILL MAHER: Oh sure, there are some heroes out there; George Washington is one of my heroes.

KING: Any current, any everyday heroes?

KING: More current than that some one who is not dead?

KING: I mean, everyday hero.

MAHER: I love anybody who fights for animal rights. Ingrid Newcar Capita (ph) is a hero of mine.

KING: She what runs PETA.

MAHER: Runs PETA, invented it and not afraid to make the case, not afraid to be booed.

KING: And that's the hero.

MAHER: George Carlin we are talking about him today, he's certainly was a hero of mine.

KING: And the organization you support the most is PETA?

MAHER: Yes, as far as animals right go I think it says it in the title -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I think anywhere you find people are cruel to each other, they start doing it to animals first.


KING: On this special heroes show on this Thanksgiving, what a great man to welcome to "LARRY KING LIVE." Or it's not "LARRY KING" -- yes, it is "LARRY KING LIVE" it's our heroes show, it's Magic Johnson. Basketball legend, he has won five NBA championships and three MVP awards, businessman, philanthropist, inspiration to many and founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation.

And the purpose tonight is "Heroes." What is a hero to you?

MAGIC JOHNSON, NBA LEGEND: Well, I think somebody who really Larry, gives back to society and the community and try to help somebody else become healthy or wealthy or just a good person.

KING: Who are some of your heroes?

JOHNSON: Well, I think I would first start off with Nelson Mandela, who --

KING: He's not a bad choice.

JOHNSON: Yes, unbelievable man, spirit who helped South Africa and helped many, many millions of people even after he was incarcerated and put in jail and never lost his spirit and just want to come back and be the president of the country and just help not only the country, but I think he helped the world.

And then a person named Elizabeth Glaser, and what she has done with pediatric AIDS. Of course, I got a chance to be there before she died of AIDS. She is a real hero because she taught me a lot about making sure that I go and touch people and teach people about HIV and AIDS around the world.

KING: Who is your sports hero?

JOHNSON: My sports hero, wow. I have several of those. Number one was probably Oscar Robinson and Wilt Chamberlain and those where my sports heroes. I always wanted to be like them and try to play the game of basketball like them and Dr. J. as well. KING: Do you think the world needs heroes?

JOHNSON: Yes, because I think that people who go out and are unselfish and give themselves so that the society and the world can be better, I think that the world definitely needs heroes, because we all want to be like somebody.

And just like my dad. He's one of my heroes in a different way. He just went to work everyday.

KING: Absolutely a hero.

JOHNSON: Exactly and that's what it's all about. You have different types of heroes in your lives. They can affect you in such a wonderful and positive way.

KING: What about young urban kids. You are a hero to them aren't you?

JOHNSON: Well, thank you. I would hope so.

KING: Don't you think you are hero?

JOHNSON: I think so because I think that they see me as a kid who grew up in the ghetto poor, and worked his way up, played in the NBA, but after that putting people to work through our companies. We put now over 40,000 minorities to work and also we have 200 kids on Magic Johnson on scholarship with colleges all across the country. We have 22 technology centers where we give math test through a computer to those who can't afford to have one in their own home.

KING: Do you feel giving back is part of the role of successful people?

JOHNSON: Yes, yes and you should wear it -- wear it with a badge of honor. That you've been blessed to make it and be successful and now you should come back and touch somebody else.

KING: You was announced 1991 -- God it seems like forever --


KING: -- that you were HIV positive and said you would dedicated your life to the battling this disease, well how is the battle going?

JOHNSON: The battle is going a lot better than 17 years ago. In the last couple of years, Evan (ph) and I we've tested over now 40,000 people, only 40 of them were HIV positive, so that was good. When I first announced, Larry, there was only one drug, and now there's almost 30 drugs, so the medicine has gotten better.

KING: Why do you think you have never gotten the disease itself?

JOHNSON: I think because of the drugs and because I think I've been blessed and because I work out and probably I have had a positive attitude about it. I never thought I was going to die and always thought I would be here for a long time.

KING: You never thought you would die?


KING: What are the signs you have it?

JOHNSON: There is no real sign. You have to go get tested. I was diagnosed early, and I think that's what saved my life, too, that they caught it early and we've jumped on it. And the fact of early detection, we are able to be here a long time.

KING: You are a very successful businessman. Did you always have that acumen? Was that something when you were playing, you said I would like to own a movie theater or restaurant?

JOHNSON: Yeah, it was something that I've always wanted to do. Besides being an NBA player, I've always wanted to be a businessman. I think you gain knowledge along the way.

But my work ethic is one thing that has made me successful. I've always had a, hopefully, solid business plan and business strategy. Urban America was my focus. They were missing a lot of quality retailers and services, and I just brought it back to them.

KING: You are a hero.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

KING: Thank you.

Magic Johnson on our "Heroes' Night" on this Thanksgiving.


KING: Next we've got Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys here. And wait until you hear about the noble work she's doing, saving children in Africa. Stay with us.



I'm standing here in the rural within a building that myself and "Keep a Child Alive" purchased to convert into a full care and treatment center for people with AIDS.

This is a dream come true for me really, a dream come true. I can't even put into words the way that I feel standing in this building.


KING: Our next guest on this "Heroes' Night" is Alicia Keys, the Grammy-winning musician and actress, the co-founder and global ambassador of "Keep a Child Alive" which, by the way, delivers medicine directly to AIDS victims in Africa.

It says a lot about your mission, obviously Alicia, but your organization does a lot more than that. Do you want to fill us in?

KEYS: Absolutely. Good to see you tonight. I'm really glad to be here.

"Keep a Child Alive" not only provides the anti-AIDS medicine for children and families who wouldn't be able afford it, which is a big deal, but it also provides all the surrounding care. So that helps to scale up clinics, it helps to employ the doctors and the nurses.

You can't have medicine without food. It helps to provide the food. It helps to provide transportation for people who wouldn't be able to get to and from the clinics without it. We also care for orphans -- who many, many are orphaned because they've lost their parents to the AIDS pandemic. We are able to build orphanages and really just a full service among the things that we are bale to do.

KING: What made you found this?

KEYS: You know it was really important to me. I actually went to -- I was asked to go to Africa in 2002, and that was my first, first up close and personal look at what was going on there. I saw children and people really close to my age dealing with so many things that I had never even understood before.

So seeing 15, 14, 13, 12-year-olds being the head of their own households; it was just unbelievable. I felt like, "Wow, what if that was me." And to have people come up to me and say what can you do, how can you help us; almost looked at me as if I had the answers. It really made me want to be a part of it. I couldn't possibly go back knowing that for $1 a day, we can provide the medicine and the care that would be needed to save so many.

KING: How often do you get to go to Africa?

KEYS: I've gotten to go twice so far which has been incredible because being able to go that first time and really be introduced to what was going on and then come back with the phenomenal Lee Blake and start this organization, "Keep a Child Alive," and then return to see the work that's been able to happen because of people like you and I who really give their time, their money, their effort, their words, and see orphanages erected and clinics built and pediatric wings exist that weren't there before, it really, really motivates me to continue doing this work.

KING: Let's take a look at a bit of your documentary, "Alicia in Africa: Journey to the Motherland." Watch.


KEYS: Because of the AIDS pandemic there are 13 million African children orphaned. The burden has fallen to their grandmothers who, in African custom, should be cared for by their children in their later years, but instead are now raising their grandchildren in the most difficult of circumstances.

For example, this grandmother lost all four of her children and now has been left to support all eight of her grandchildren.


KING: Is the medicine you get Alicia, is it donated?

KEYS: The medicine is paid for with the $1 a day that is provided by the American people, anyone who wants to donate that dollar a day. So no, it is not donated. It is bought and it is given directly to the people that need it. But what we've been able to do is we've been able to get generic medicine, so it is a lot less expensive than it would be.

KING: Do we know how many children have AIDS in Africa?

KEY: You know what? There are 28 million people that have already passed from AIDS in Africa. Every other minute a child dies from AIDS, every other minute there. There is a very, very large amount of children that are infected right now and not only infected but affected as well which is a whole other issue.

KING: One other thing, you're certainly a hero to millions and to us. Who's a hero to you?

KEYS: My goodness. I'm glad to say a woman named Mum Carol (ph) who I met in Sueto (ph). She cares for 1,750 children who have been orphaned by AIDS. She started out marching as a child with other 14- year-olds in 1976 when they were marching against having to speak Afrikaans which is the language of their officers. So many were beaten and raped, including her, but she survived and now she cares for all of these amazing children who I've met personally so many, whose stories are so brutal and sad, but they still have so much faith and strength and I believe that they will be a true beacon of light and hope for my generation. Mum Carol is definitely a hero of mine.

Lee Blake who also has helped me to start this organization is as big hero of mine. She's a super woman. There are so many people that are really doing incredible work.

KING: You are a hero to us. Thanks, Alicia.

KEYS: Thank you. I'll see you soon.

KING: You bet. Alicia Keys; great story.

Will.I.Am is next on this "Heroes' Night" on CNN and "LARRY KING LIVE." Don't go away.




WILL.I.AM, SINGER: (SINGING "YES WE CAN") BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed the trail towards freedom. Yes we can. Yes we can.


KING: We welcome Will.I.Am to our heroes' tribute show tonight; the Grammy-winning musician, songwriter, producer, frontman for the multi-platinum Black-Eyed Peas. He created the pro-Obama video, "Yes We Can" and has a new song, a terrific one, video out called "It's a New Day;" now available on iTunes.

What's a hero to you?

WILL.I.AM: Someone who keeps a strong posture when times are tough, someone who pushes the future forward that can see around corners and stands for what they believe in and inspires many to do the same.

KING: Who are some your heroes.

WILL.I.AM: Of course, my mom, Quincy Jones, Martin Luther King, Al Gore.

KING: Have they influenced you? Have they affected you?

WILL.I.AM: Quincy Jones most definitely has influenced me to study music, do different things with music, not think of yourself and give birth to everything.

My mom, of course. I wouldn't be here sitting at this table if it wasn't for her guidance. And Martin Luther King, to dream big, realize that it is about race, but one race and that's the human race.

And Al Gore, to put what's important first rather than yourself. When I speak with him and I see what he's done to educate people on our climate when people are skeptical to not even realize those issues.

KING: Do you think we need heroes?

WILL.I.AM: Yes, if we don't have heroes, we would all be cave men.

KING: What advice do you give to others who want to have an impact? What do you tell young people?

WILL.I.AM: Surround yourself with good friends. If there's poison in your friendship, don't be friends with that person or help that person out. Really, it's really about friends. If you want to see where you're going to be in the next five years, add up all of your five friends.

KING: Do you feel you have been blessed?

WILL.I.AM: Yes, with good friends most importantly.

KING: You've got a good friend, you've got the world.


KING: Thank you, Will.

WILL.I.AM: Thank you.

KING: Will.I.Am on our Heroes Show.



JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: Every night Ellie's mom whispered in her sleeping daughter's ear.

ELLIE BOUCHARD, PATIENT WITH BRAIN TUMOR: She said, "Go away, tumor, go away.

ANISTON: That's right. And to help that brain tumor go away, her parents turned to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital where our discoveries have doubled Ellie's chance of survival.

Why give to St. Jude?

BOUCHARD: My mom and dad know why.



KING: We welcome to this special "Heroes" show on Thanksgiving, Marlo Thomas, of Los Angeles, the national outreach director for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and little Ellie. Ellie is the St. Jude patient who is six years old, being treated for a brain tumor. In fact, she is the poster child this year for the St. Jude Hospital; Ellie versus brain tumor. Let's make sure she wins.

Her mother, Colleen, is with us as well. When Ellie was five she was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a softball. But Ellie and the medical pros defied the odds. She had two surgeries to remove the tumor, remains today the same happy child she's always been.

Marlo, how did you come -- why is Ellie our guest this year.

MARLO THOMAS, ST. JUDE CHILDREN'S RESEARCH HOSPITAL: Ellie's our guest because she is a real survivor of a very difficult brain tumor called SNET. And we're very excited because we have a surprise for you, Larry. We're going to announce something that isn't even published in the journal yet.

We have taken this brain tumor from 50 percent worldwide to 75 percent now at St. Jude, and Ellie is the great respondent of that.

KING: Meaning -- the 50 percent to 75 percent.

THOMAS: Well, with 50 percent everywhere in the world. And because of what we're doing -- what we've done is we've lowered the radiation, we have raised the chemotherapy and we've supported it with stem cell so that -- to support the fact that it's such a high chemo, and that's brought us up to a 75 percent survival rate.

KING: Ellie, I'm told that you were excited to be here because you saw me in "The Bee Movie."


KING: Yeah. You liked "The Bee Movie?"


KING: How are you feeling?


KING: Did you have pain with this? Did your head hurt?


KING: Colleen, how was it discovered?

COLLEEN BOUCHARD, ELLIE'S MOTHER: Well, you know, with Ellie, there weren't a lot of symptoms. We didn't have a lot of symptoms at first and I just knew; mother's instincts.

KING: What was it like for you, Ellie, at St. Jude's.

E. BOUCHARD: I love the doctors.

THOMAS: Tell him who you're going to marry.

E. BOUCHARD: Dr. Bracowski (ph).

THOMAS: You hear it first it's an first exclusive, Larry.

KING: Did you meet other children there?


KING: Did you have a good time there?


KING: They took good care of you?

E. BOUCHARD: Yeah, they did.

KING: How do you feel -- are you worried about having a brain tumor? E. BOUCHARD: No.

KING: You feel you're going to do all right?


KING: You know, you're a hero or a heroine to a lot of people, Ellie.

THOMAS: She definitely is.

E. BOUCHARD: Thank you.

KING: You're a fighter and when people see you they have hopes for survival of others. So in your own way, people look up to -- even though you're small, people look up to you.

By the way, in case you missed it, for more information about St. Jude or to make a donation, viewers can go to or you can call 1-800-4-st-jude.

There probably isn't a finer institution in this country.


KING: Doing what they do for kids.

THOMAS: No. I guess daddy is the ultimate hero.

C. BOUCHARD: He's my hero.

KING: Danny Thomas would be the ultimate hero. What do you want to be when you grow up, Ellie?

E. BOUCHARD: A nurse.

KING: That's right. Maybe you'll work at St. Jude's.

THOMAS: Yeah. That would be great.

KING: That would be nice. One other thing, Ellie. Have any boyfriends?

E. BOUCHARD: I have one named Dr. Bracowski.

KING: He's your boyfriend?

C. BOUCHARD: She has quite a thing going.

THOMAS: Tell Larry what you said to your mother when you were in the room with Dr. Bracowski.

C. BOUCHARD: What did you tell me you wanted to do?

E. BOUCHARD: I said, "You can go out in the waiting room, mom."

C. BOUCHARD: She doesn't need me anymore when he's there.

KING: Get out of the room. We're going to send you a DVD copy of "The Bee Movie," OK? Your very own.

E. BOUCHARD: Thank you.

KING: Thank you, Marlo.

THOMAS: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Thank you, Ellie. Thank you, Colleen.

What ample heroes.

We'll be right back.


KING: This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. In 1987, I underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery. I was lucky because my hospital bills were covered by insurance.

Others are not so lucky so I made a promise to provide funding for life saving treatments for those that couldn't afford it and what's great about this is that I get to meet some of my heroes; other patients who have survived heart surgeries. And they're here today to tell their stories.

They're Chris Savas who recovered from heart surgery, a supporter of the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, professional photographer and Efundum Ashu who recovered as heart surgery patient, has a master's degree in petroleum engineering. Thanks, by the way, to the foundation.

Chris, what happened to you?

CHRIS SAVAS, SUPPORTER OF LARRY KING CARDIAC FOUNDATION: I'm a photographer and I was in another country and I ended up getting a strep infection. When I got back to this country, I started getting sicker and sicker. And I was going to doctor after doctor and they kept prescribing antibiotics to me.

KING: Did it turn out to be a heart problem?

SAVAS: It was a heart problem; what it was, was a strep infection. I had a strep infection.

KING: And you were not covered by insurance?

SAVAS: No, I wasn't.

KING: How did you -- you contacted us?

SAVAS: Exactly. What it was, was through St. Joseph's in Atlanta, they're affiliated with you and the priest in my church had talked to Dr. Nick Coronas (ph) at St. Joseph's and Nick --

KING: He contacted us.

SAVAS: Exactly.

KING: And we did the surgery?

SAVAS: Exactly.

KING: At St. Joseph's.

SAVAS: Exactly. With the robots.

KING: You've obviously fully recovered?


KING: Efundum what happened to you?

EFUNDUM ASHU, HELPED BY LARRY KING CARDIAC FOUNDATION: As a kid I always had like headaches and I never knew what they were. My parents took me everywhere they could and then when I came to the U.S. for studies, I was doing my master's. And then one day I got those headaches and then a blackout. And then I went to the hospital and it was ASD, a heart problem.

KING: What country did you come from?

ASHU: From Cameroon.

KING: So when did we do the surgery?

ASHU: It was August of 2004.

KING: And you had somebody contact our foundation?

ASHU: My sister did. She wrote a letter. She went online and she did a search. And she --

KING: She found us.

ASHU: Yeah. And then she contacted you.

KING: Which you can, by the way, at; that is our spot. She reached us and we contacted you and did the surgery.

ASHU: Immediately.

KING: Chris, do you feel lucky?

SAVAS: I feel very lucky. I feel that my situation, I mean, I would say it's a miracle.

When I was first diagnosed, they said I probably had two days to live. At this point in time, you know, it was --

KING: You were lucky?

SAVAS: I was lucky.

KING: What kind of surgery did they do on you?

ASHU: They did a heart catheterization.

KING: Did you think you were going to die?

ASHU: Yeah. The doctor said if they didn't do something about it, then I would die.

KING: Now we have some great news about Efundum. Efundum is pregnant. Here's someone close to death where we step in. That's why you two are my heroes. Now you are going to have a baby.

ASHU: Yes.

KING: A boy.

ASHU: A boy.

KING: Where was your surgery?

ASHU: It was done in Washington, D.C.

KING: What hospital?

ASHU: Children's Hospital.

KING: Children's hospital?

ASHU: Yes.

KING: Children's Hospital?

ASHU: Yes.

KING: Why did you go to Children's Hospital?

ASHU: Because it's something that only -- not only but mostly children have. You have it as a child and they take care of it. And as a grown up, it was -- it was crazy. I went in there and tried to check in and they said we check in kids only.

KING: So you had all children around you?

ASHU: Yes.

KING: Everyone in the beds is a child but you?

ASHU: Yes.

KING: This surgery was -- this dealt with a problem that happens to children of a young age, right?

ASHU: Yes.

KING: You came through. Now, what is your condition now?

SAVAS: I'm healthy as I've ever been. I still can't get insurance, you know. I mean, I'm still uninsurable.

KING: Figures.

SAVAS: Which is another problem.

KING: Pre-existing?

SAVAS: Preexisting and so that's, you know, that's something that we're dealing with now but my health is great.

KING: And you?

ASHU: I feel wonderful. Sometimes I forget that I had that problem. I play tennis. I do everything. I just listen to my body.

KING: There's no repercussions from it?

ASHU: No. It was perfect and I was happy that they -- the Larry King Cardiac Foundation came through when they did.

KING: How exciting and you are going to be a mother.

ASHU: Yes.

KING: Best of luck to you, Efundum. You let us know when he is born. If you name him Larry, you could get a cash reward.

Chris, you stay healthy, too. Chris Savas, Efundum Ashu.

Here it is, CNN's special event, "Heroes." It's an all-star event and it starts right now.