WATCH: Leeza Gibbons returns home to help our caregivers

IRMO, S.C. (WOLO) – Talk show host, author and most recently, winner of the “Celebrity Apprentice”, Leeza Gibbons, is making good on her promise to bring more than $700,000 in prize money from the reality competition home to Irmo.

“I truly believe I won ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ because I had my eye on this prize,” Gibbons said.

The star opens the Midlands location of “Leeza’s Care Connection” Thursday afternoon on St. Andrews Road, in the historic Michael J. and Mary Meech Mungo house. Gibbons started her original foundation 14 years ago, to provide free support to families fighting Alzheimer’s and other chronic illnesses.

“To be here today; it’s a big time dream come true for me,” Gibbons said. “Because these are my friends and neighbors.”

While they’ve been prepping the flagship location to open, Gibbons has been collaborating with Lexington Medical Center on a program that trains ambassadors to work in the house. “Helping U Give Support,” or “HUGS,” gives people who are experience caregivers the tools to lend their expertise to those who are just embarking on the caregiving journey. Gibbons and her husband donated the money to the hospital to start the program, after Gibbons’ father spent time there following a near-fatal heart attack.

“The tendency, I think, when you’re going through it, is to think you’re totally alone,” she said, “That nobody’s going to understand it. And truly, unless they’ve walked the path, they can’t get it, so we connect people to people who have been on that path before and we help you answer the question, ‘now what?'”

The first round of HUGS participants graduate from the program Thursday morning. For more information on HUGS and Leeza’s Care Connection, click here.


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