In May, Jimmy Kimmel tearfully revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that his newborn son William “Billy” Kimmel had to undergo open heart surgery at just three days old. Billy was born with congenital heart disease that required the life-threatening operation, which thankfully was a success. And ever since the host’s sincere praise of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where the surgery was performed, the hospital’s seen a spike in donations. A portion of which is thanks to Kimmel’s mom, Joann Kimmel, and celeb-loved jewelry designer Maya Brenner (the designer of Meghan Markle’s infamous “M and H” necklace).
Joan owned one of Brenner’s most popular jewelry pieces, the letter necklace, filled with pendants of all of her grandchildren’s initials. And after Billy’s successful recovery, Joan made a visit to Brenner’s L.A. store to add a “W” to the mix.
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Brenner tells PeopleStyle that Joan’s shopping trip was an “emotional interaction” and prompted her to do something to help raise awareness. So between June 15 to July 15, Brenner will donate 10 percent of each letter necklace sold at MayaBrenner.com to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“My daughter had an MRI at Children’s Hospital a few years ago,” Brenner explains. “Luckily everything turned out fine with her but our few visits there had a profound effect on me. I was devastated to hear what Jimmy and Molly [McNearney] went through just hours after William was born as it’s every parent’s worst fear. Fortunately like my daughter, William was OK but you can’t help but think about all the kids being treated that don’t have the same outcome.”
In Jimmy’s monologue, he choked up when talking about the care of the hospital staff. “I hope you never have to go there,” he said about CHLA. “But if you do, you’ll see so many kids from so many financial backgrounds, being cared for so well and with so much compassion.”
The initial necklace has been a hit among Hollywood with A-list clients including Julianne Hough, Mila Kunis, because Brenner says she saw an untapped market for trendy “mom” jewelry.
“When I had children I was uninspired by the typical ‘mom’ jewelry and wanted to design something that was unique and timeless at the same time,” she explains. “I loved the idea of making the letters asymmetrical because it felt a little whimsical and could be layered with pretty much anything.”
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As Joan puts it, “Brenner started out making jewelry and has wound up making heirlooms.”
So tell us: How many necklaces are you snatching up?