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Byrne Takes a Break from Fund-raiser

For the first time in 11 years, AS THE WORLD TURNS' Martha Byrne (Lily) will not be hosting her annual fund-raiser for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is usually held in the fall at the Marriott Marquis in New York. But she vows the event will be back after some restructuring.


"I'm taking 2006, off, and after the baby is born, I'll have more time to think about it," reveals Byrne, whose third child is due in June. "The event just gets bigger and bigger every year. It's an event for 1,000 people, and there were basically four people running it. My mom is incredible and I couldn't do it without her; I know the hospital would agree with that. She's a one-woman machine that's running out of steam. Her health and sanity are more important at this point."


Byrne is keeping involved by sitting on St Jude's professional advisory board. "I feel that I can make changes so there will be more exciting things to do. It will be different for the fans and — most importantly — it will raise more money for the hospital," she explains. "When I started this, they were only doing a few events in New York, and now they're doing hundreds of things. I can bring a lot to the table as to helping on a bigger scale.


"Being on the board, you go to the hospital and meet with the other PAB members and discuss corporate sponsorship," she adds. "I'm trying to get a committee together so that we can do something that's dedicated to the daytime fans, but also run very smoothly. The responsibility [will be] shared among 30 committee members, as opposed to two or three people who have good intentions but it's just too much to do."


Byrne is already thinking of ways to revamp the event. "The fans are invaluable," raves Byrne. "They've been so incredibly supportive, and I do it for them because they deserve it. Not only is it great for the hospital, but it's a fan-appreciation day. It'll be different, but it's going to be with daytime fans and casts from every show. I've always wanted to do something outdoors in the spring in Manhattan. It's an important thing to me, so I'm trying hard to continue it. Stay tuned!"


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