The airtime on “Days of Our Lives” is not the only platform Ken Corday has to support charitable endeavors. While the soap has told stories about alcoholism, interracial romance, same sex marriage, and incest, enlightening viewers in the process, Corday has also been heavily involved in numerous charities off-screen.
“My mother and father were my greatest role models,” says Corday. “They taught me it is definitely more blessed to give than to receive, and being in the fortunate position that I am, I have been able to implement some of their lessons.”
Three of the over 45 charities Corday supports are especially close to his heart: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Operation Smile and the Los Angeles Mission. His involvement with the former came about 15 years ago when Corday’s daughter was diagnosed with a severe medical condition. Two years later, she was cured.
“During that time, my wife [Sherry] and I had many opportunities to see firsthand how diligent and incredibly involved all the doctors and nurses at CHLA were with their patients,” Corday says.
His devotion to the Los Angeles Mission came about in the 1990s when, he says, “I observed homelessness in Los Angeles reaching epidemic proportions.”
And it was NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke who brought Operation Smile to Corday’s attention. His work with that org led to his being awarded the John Connor Humanitarian Award in 2014.
“It’s been my privilege and pleasure to be involved with their ongoing commitment to helping children on an international level be able to smile again,” he says.
In addition to these causes off screen, Corday helped shine a rare light on screen to the illness myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder, after cast member Suzanne Rogers was diagnosed with the condition.
“We were getting letters asking ‘What’s wrong with Maggie?’” Rogers recalls. “So Ken said, ‘Let’s do this storyline.’”
The actress says Corday’s decision not only brought awareness of myasthenia gravis to viewers, but also played a key role in her own personal recovery. (She’s been in remission for years.)
“If it hadn’t been for Ken, I don’t think I would have gotten better,” Rogers says. “He has the biggest heart in the world. If Ken finds out someone’s in trouble, he helps.”