Nancy Davis’ Race to Erase MS
Nancy Davis and Ken Rickel at their Bel Air house.
Thirteen years ago, Nancy Davis was diagnosed with MS. Her doctors told her, in so many words, to go home, get in bed and wait for the end. An exaggeration, but at that time there was not a single drug on the market to stop the progress of the disease.

Daughter of Beverly Hills social lioness Barbara Davis and West Coast tycoon Marvin Davis, Ms. Davis has a kind of noblesse oblige that is part heritage and part plain old American can-do initiative and self-reliance. She was a young mother hearing that news and she refused to accept the prognosis. Using the advantages of her family wealth she sought out all kinds of doctors with all kinds of ideas and advice about combating and beating MS.

Nancy Davis with Aaron and Candy Spelling at the Race to Erase MS Ball
In her search she soon saw that she was looking for answers for a lot of people, including research groups. She saw that it was far from a hopeless situation. In gathering information from a wide variety of high level sources, she also saw that the efforts to learn and discover were not coordinated effectively.

The following year she started the Nancy Davis Foundation and staged their first benefit for The Nancy Davis Center Without Walls. The CWW is a funded collaboration of the world’s leading MS research scientists from USC, UC San Francisco, Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Yale, The Cleveland Clinic and Oregon Health Sciences University.

There are now five effective medications on the market for MS patients and three dramatic breakthroughs that could potentially lead to a cure of the dread disease.
From Nancy Davis' Peace and Love collection
Today one of the great annual social events of Los Angeles is Nancy Davis’ Race to Erase MS Ball which raises millions for Multiple Sclerosis research. Last May Davis and Tommy Hilfiger chaired the 10th annual at the Century Plaza Hotel, and raised millions for their cause.

A couple of years ago, the always enterprising Davis started her own line of jewelry called Peace and Love Jewelry. “Now more than ever,” she reminds, “the world longs for peace and love.” Her 60-piece collection which incorporates popular symbols of peace and love has been a big hit at Saks Fifth Avenue both in Beverly Hills and New York, and at Neiman Marcus in Texas. One piece – the Peace and Love icon, she presents to the celebrities who participate in the annual Race to Erase gala as a thank you for their contribution to the cause. A portion of the proceeds from the Peace & Love line is donated to the Nancy Davis Center Without Walls.
More from the Peace and Love jewelry line
Last August on our visit to Los Angeles, we went up to see Davis at the house in Bel Air that she shares with her husband Ken Rickel. The house, which is palatial in concept and proportion, is, as houses can be ideally in that climate, a pastiche of the light and bright, plush, the silver and gilted, cottons and silks, in the midst of a jungle of festooning flora and fauna both inside and out. The Davis-Rickel household is family – dogs, young people, activity coming and going.

JH took some shots of the Davis-Rickels in their near earthly paradise, with two of their adorable and adored (and rescued) dawgs. One of the intriguing things about Nancy Davis is her energy. Boundless, tireless and formidable. It’s hard to believe any kind of dread disease had ever set her back a moment. It’s just that kind of energy that is always needed to solve any problem be it health or otherwise, a common sense drive.

The Race to Erase MS Ball raises millions for Multiple Sclerosis research. Last May, Davis and Tommy Hilfiger chaired the 10th annual at the Century Plaza Hotel, and raised millions for their cause.
Jaime and Steve Tisch
Nicky Hilton and Aimee Osbourne
Jo Champa and Joe Farrell
Jerry and Tawnee Sanders with Nancy Davis
Tom and Shelby Arnold
Anjelica Huston and Robert Graham
Kelsey Grammer and his wife
Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster
Wilmer Valderrama and friend
Thelma Houston and Nancy Davis
Suzanne de Passe, Jamia Simone Nash, and Nancy Davis
Michael Chiklis and his wife
Paul Palmer, Tony Danza, Suzy Krevoy, Lynn Palmer, and Nancy Davis
Pamela and David Hasselhoff
L. to r.: Nick Lachey; Steven Cojocaru; Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna.
Tim and Bernadette Leiweke with Nancy Davis
Kelly Day and Holly Robinson Peete with friends
Noel Cohen and friend with Gerry and Robert Morton
Lisa Breckenridge, Jenny Belushi, and Shannon Gurvitz
Alan Hamel, Suzanne Somers, Barbara Davis, and David and Linda Foster
Ken Landy and Brooke Lustig
L. to r.: The Davis sons; Tommy Hilfiger and fam.
Chad Brownstein and his fiancee with Dan Beany and friend
John Demsey and Cornelia Guest
L. to r.: Mary Milner, Nancy Davis, Tara Reid, and Tony Daly; Aimee Osbourne, Nancy Davis, and Marcy Taub.
L. to r.: Montel Williams and his wife; Terri Garr; Daryl Hannah; Shawn King.
L. to r.: James Ginty; Ed and Pam McMahon; Tom Arnold, Caprice, and Alexander Davis.

Photographs by Silvia Mautner


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/