Doctor with big heart is 2018 CNN Hero of the Year


As a doctor who underwent medical training in Lima, Pun-Chong encountered many children who were traveling with their parents from rural areas of the country. And for most, it is a dangerous journey – over mountains, across rivers and along unsafe roads, all for medical care.

Once in Lima, away from home, and often unable to withstand a long-term holiday at the hotel, Pun-Chong saw many families being forced to turn to hospital floors.

"I could not find the image of the families sleeping on the floor outside my mind," Pun-Chong told CNN earlier this year. "So I decided to do something about them."

On Sunday night, Pun-Chong was named the CNN's 2018 hero for his efforts to provide free shelter, meals and support for sick children and their families while undergoing treatment. The prize is determined by online voters who chose Pun-Chong from the top 10 CNN Heroes.

In 2008 he founded a retreat and a non-profit corporation called Inspira, and up to now his organization has helped more than 800 families. The shelter was designed to make children feel at home and provide a place for children to be "children".

Pun-Chong will receive $ 100,000 to increase its cause. All 10 CNN's top 10 Heroes for 2018 will receive a cash prize worth $ 10,000, while donations made to each non-profit organization account for up to $ 50,000.

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

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

"Real heroes are our children," Pun-Chong said. "Infinite thank you to each of you for trusting us and showing us that love has no borders".

The leaders of CNN on Sunday Top 10 Tribute were dedicated to stars and good vibes, laughter and tears – but only the happy kind.

Ripa and Cooper start the show at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Grammy Award winner Lenny Kravitz took the crowd with the song "Here to Love" from the album "Raise Vibration".

Will Ferrell, Bryan Cranston, Danai Gurira, John C. Reilly and Ted Danson were among the stars that participated. And even Souli, former president George H.W. Bush's service dog was on hand … wrong, foot … to celebrate an incredible piece 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 Lagoon, Nigeria, teaches poor women in the city's slums how to encode a program organized by the Pearls Africa Foundation.
  • Maria Rose Belding inaugurated MEANS, a platform that reduces food waste by linking restaurants and businesses with extra food to charities that feed the hungry.
  • After being paralyzed in a ski accident, Amanda Boxtel launched Bridging Bionics – a nonprofit company providing high-tech physical therapy to people with disabilities near Aspen, Colorado.
  • Dr. Rob Gore, an emergency doctor in Brooklyn, New York, set up the Kings Against Violence Initiative, which runs anti-violence programs in his community.
  • Luke Michelson left his job to find sleep in Heaven's Irini, a nonprofit organization that manufactures and delivers beds to children in need.
  • Susan Munsey has escaped a life of sexual trafficking, and in 2009 GenerateHope, a group providing housing, treatment, and more to survivors of sexual trafficking, has begun.
  • At the age of 87, Florence Phillips is still the nonprofit company – ESL In-Home Program in North Nevada – which provides free English, computer and GED lessons to migrants.
  • Ellen Stackable is a former England teacher who founded poetry justice, a nonprofit company that teaches creative writing to imprisoned women in Oklahoma.
  • Former US Army chief Chris Stout launched the Veterans Community Program, linking veterans with homeless with housing and other basic services.
Also honored on Sunday was 2018 CNN Heroes Young Wonders, an impressive team that, despite their young age, they are already making the world a better place. This year's class is working to eliminate plastic bags, fuel homeless people and more.
Starting at 8 pm ET, donations to the designated nonprofit organization of each Top 10 CNN Hero, through CNNHeroes.com and crowdrise.com/cnnheroes, will be matched by Subaru up to $ 50,000 per Hero by January 2, 2019.

Now in his twelfth year, Peabody and the Emmy Award-winning "CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute" have screened more than 300 heroes and received almost 100,000 nominations from more than 100 countries.

To learn more, like CNN Heroes on Facebook, follow @CNNHeroes on Twitter and use the hashtag #CNNHeroes. The images behind the scenes can be viewed in the CNN Heroes Instagram account.