Family medical drama prompted Sean Penn's Haiti activism
- Photo: Lionel Cironneau/Invision/AP1 of 17
- Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP2 of 17
- Photo: Mahmoud Bakry/Invision/AP3 of 17
- Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery/Invision/AP4 of 17
- Photo: Ariana Cubillos/Invision/AP5 of 17
- Photo: AMI/ZOJ/WENN6 of 17
- Photo: Chris Ashford/Camera Press/Retna Digital7 of 17
- Photo: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP8 of 17
- Photo: Brandon Todd/Splash News9 of 17
- Photo: Brandon Todd/Splash News10 of 17
- Photo: Sean and son Hopper/RSD/ZO6/WENN11 of 17
- Photo: VENTURINI/Bauer-Griffin12 of 17
- Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com13 of 17
- Photo: Louis Lanzano/Invision/AP14 of 17
- Photo: Splash News15 of 17
- Photo: Darran Robinson/Splash News16 of 17
More Celeb News
- Ratings: 'Celebrity Wife Swap' Debut Drops 58 Percent From Last YearMSNEntertainment 4/16/2014 9:02:00 AM
- Martin O'Donnell, 'Halo' Composer, Fired by Bungie 'Without CausMSNEntertainment 4/16/2014 8:53:00 AM
- 'Game of Thrones' Breaks Its Own Piracy Record With Purple Wedding EpisodeMSNEntertainment 4/16/2014 8:20:00 AM
- 'Transcendence' Reviews: Is the Johnny Depp Thriller Trippy or Tedious?MSNEntertainment 4/16/2014 8:17:00 AM
- The View to Unite All 11 Co-Hosts for Barbara Walters FarewellMSNEntertainment 4/16/2014 7:23:00 AM
- Ratings: 'Celebrity Wife Swap' Debut Drops 58 Percent From Last Year
Sean Penn rushed to help the people of Haiti in the wake of 2010's catastrophic earthquake after witnessing his son bounce back from a near-fatal head injury -- all thanks to modern medication.
RELATED: Celebrities at Sundance 2012
The "Milk" star was still reeling from his marriage split from actress Robin Wright when his teenage son, Hopper, suffered a devastating skateboarding accident, which left him in need of emergency brain surgery.
In the days that followed, Penn watched him make a full recovery with the help of pain medication, and the actor reveals as soon as the tremendous tremor hit Haiti, he couldn't bear the thought of survivors undergoing amputations without the same medical help his son had received.
RELATED: Celebrity Rebound Couples
He tells the New York Times, "I had been single-parenting after a divorce for about eight months, and in that time my son had a traumatic head injury. And after getting through the life threat or the brain-damage threat, still there was the pain, and then he was given morphine for the pain, and I guess ... I really found affection for what those pain medications could do to people. I had just seen his relief and so then it was four days before the earthquake that both he and his mother had found they were ready to spend some time together, so he left, which was initially kind of a 24/7 burden of eight months that I needed to break through ... After that I was just sitting around missing him, and the earthquake happened."
Penn continued, "I was hearing about the amputations and so on without any IV (intravenous) pain medications, so I put a little group together, but the intention initially was just to go down and distribute those medications to the hospitals and clinics that were doing surgeries. And then we had a pretty good group of people, and there were gaps to be filled ... One commitment built into another one."
Penn founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization and two years later he's still a very present force in Haiti as both aid worker and activist.
Where Are They?
See what the cast of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" is up to today.Watch Video »
Justin Bieber makes a surprise appearance at Coachella where Selena Gomez happens to be hanging out with the Jenner sisters on Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Where are they?
See where the former cast of "The Girls Next Door" is today.Watch Video »
Britney Spears, Cindy Crawford and Vanessa Hudgens show their siblings some love on today's Celebs Gone Social hosted by Wonderwall editor Chris Gardner.Watch Video »
MTV Red Carpet
Get a front-row seat to the 2014 MTV Movie Awards with Wonderwall's Kirby Kristen.Watch Video »
Nick Cannon debuts his latest hairstyle -- a skunk-colored ‘do -- on today's Celebs Gone Social hosted by Wonderwall editor Chris Gardner.Watch Video »
From Crowd Ignite