By Jodi Guglielmi
Updated November 04, 2016 11:13 AM
Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Johnny Depp knows what it feels like to be a parent scared for their child’s life.

Depp, 53, was presented with the inaugural Rhonda’s Kiss Healing and Hope Award on Thursday night for his support of cancer patients in need. During his acceptance speech, the actor said he could empathize with the parents he met while visiting sick children in hospitals.

“To the parents in the room who I was speaking about earlier, who I have seen melting and their own form of courage,” he said. “I was one of those parents, for weeks, when my daughter was ill.”

Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose, now 17, was hospitalized in 2007 after contracting an E. coli infection that caused kidney failure. She was 7 years old at the time.

At the time, Depp and his then-girlfriend Vanessa Paradis, Lily-Rose’s mother, kept a constant vigil at their daughter’s bedside during her 9-day hospitalization.

“I lived in the [London] hospital for three weeks with my girl and my kid, not knowing if she was going to make it or not,” he said as he pledged to continue his work with cancer patients. “Parents, please note that you have my utter respect. Please note that you have all my respect, and you have my promise to continue to fight, this noble fight right alongside you at any time.”

“And, we’ll just never give up. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

Depp also thanked the dedicated medical staff who helped treat his mother Betty Sue Palmer before her death in May.

“She was a hellcat. She was mean, but she was funny,” he said “The amount of care and love she received from every member of the staff and the brilliant and dedicated specialists who tirelessly gave of themselves far beyond the call of duty, I am truly humbled by this kindness. Their kindness and your infinite knowledge, doctors and specialists.”

“My mom and her family would have been very much lost in the darkness without these people,” he continued. “We’ll always owe them a deep debt of gratitude that is virtually impossible to repay.”

Depp appeared to be in good spirits throughout the evening, smiling and waving to the crowd as he gave his speech.

Along with being honored, the actor autographed one of his guitars that was then auctioned off in aid of the nonprofit organization.

  • Reporting by Reagan Alexander