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George Clooney "inspirational" to Jacob Zalewski

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George Clooney "inspirational" to Jacob Zalewski

Post by Katiedot on Tue Dec 06 2011, 10:44

This is a gorgeous story. Enjoy!

From Las Vegas Review Journal

'Blessed' man's event fights cerebral palsy

Dec. 6, 2011 | 2:01 a.m.

Jacob Zalewski was born with cerebral palsy, weighing less than a pound-and-a-half at premature birth, an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, fighting for a 3 percent chance to live.

But that was 28 years ago. These days, Zalewski is a friend to celebrities. And he's known for fearlessly riding his chair up to beautiful women to ask them out.

Yet his legacy is that he created Vegas' All In For CP charity poker tournament, co-starring Cheryl Hines and other stars this Friday at The Venetian.

The event benefits Zalewski's OneStepCloserFoundation.org, which donates to hospitals that help disabled people.

Zalewski started the charity four years ago, about the time he met George Clooney, who changed his life. Zalewski snuck into the "Ocean's Thirteen" premiere with the help of Don Cheadle. At the movie's after-party, Zalewski tried blending in by telling a film exec, "I like your shirt."

"Then I get a tap on the shoulder," Zalewski says. "It was freaking George Clooney."

"What are you doing here, kid?" Clooney asked.

Zalewski tried to bluff. "Would you believe I'm friends with Brad Pitt?"

"Nope," Clooney said.

"What about Don Cheadle?"

"Try again," Clooney said.

"OK," Zalewski admitted. "I snuck in. Do you want me to go?"

Clooney smiled. "Nah, I'm just (messin') with you, kid. Come let me buy you a drink."

For a half-hour, they drank, and Clooney told him, "You can do this, kid. Just keep doing what you're doing. If you need any help, get a hold of me."

That was a turning point for Zalewski . "Every time something goes wrong, I think of that moment. It inspires me to go on."

Last year, Zalewski's All In For CP poker tourney raised $150,000. He's aiming for $300,000 at this year's tourney, starting at 2 p.m. To compete, sign up at The Venetian's cage with a $540 buy-in. You might play with expected attendees "Simpsons" co-creator Sam Simon, Jennifer Tilly, Mekhi Phifer, Sean Astin, Billy Burke, Montel Williams, David Zayas of "Dexter," former National Hockey League player Rick Tocchet, model Stacy Fuson and host Karina Jett.

Zalewski has been a go-getter since he was 8, when a coach told him he couldn't play football. He was upset at first. Then, suddenly, a warm feeling ran through his body, and he thought, "I'm not gonna feel this way ever again."

"That's when I went out and tried to make everybody feel good and look at the positive of life," he says. "It's been pretty amazing."

Zalewski , from Houston, started visiting Vegas at age 9. His poker-playing dad, Hertzel, brought him during tourneys and to eat at Binion's Steakhouse with Jack Binion.

Several years ago, Zalewski was driving his scooter too fast toward a casino coffee shop when he swerved to avoid Norm Macdonald, who befriended Zalewski and introduced him to Simon.

Before long, Zalewski was friends with Annie Duke, who took him to her Vegas charity tourney Ante Up For Africa.

That's when Zalewski had the idea to start a benefit tourney. Simon helped him. And support still pours in from Simon, Duke and such tourney sponsors as The Venetian, Xinergy , Lance Funston and Sugar Factory.

A month ago, Zalewski moved to L.A. near the celebrity den The Grove. He approaches every star he sees and asks them to come to All In For CP, so he can raise a little more money for hospitals.

"I've been very, very blessed in the life that I've had. I've had amazing parents and amazing people behind me. God has really blessed me and looked out for me," he says.

"But as good as I have it, sometimes people need a little help. I want to do everything I can. God gave me a shot. I hope I'm not letting him down."

Katiedot
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Re: George Clooney "inspirational" to Jacob Zalewski

Post by it's me on Tue Dec 06 2011, 16:52

this is G

it's me
George Clooney fan forever!

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Re: George Clooney "inspirational" to Jacob Zalewski

Post by melbert on Wed Dec 07 2011, 02:33

Great story Katie! I can see George doing this. What a thrill for Jacob!

melbert
George Clooney fan forever!

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Re: George Clooney "inspirational" to Jacob Zalewski

Post by Katiedot on Wed Dec 07 2011, 05:13

Can't you just see George giggling to himself while he puts this guy through the wringer knowing full well he had no intention of throwing him out of the party?

Katiedot
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Re: George Clooney "inspirational" to Jacob Zalewski

Post by it's me on Wed Dec 07 2011, 12:26

we all
absolutely
(I mean he is an absolute devil)

it's me
George Clooney fan forever!

Posts : 16906
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Re: George Clooney "inspirational" to Jacob Zalewski

Post by it's me on Wed Dec 07 2011, 12:35

I guess George Clooney is (unfortunately) a fine connoisseur of human psychology
by studying
or maybe only by instinct plus experience

so
he can be DEVASTATING
in good and bad too

it's me
George Clooney fan forever!

Posts : 16906
Join date : 2011-01-03

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Re: George Clooney "inspirational" to Jacob Zalewski

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