“When it comes to Red Nose Day, I wanted to contribute more than I did last year,” Gbajabiamila says of participating in the event, which helps raise money to end child poverty. “Hosting the episode just didn’t feel like enough. I grew up battling the same issues the children Red Nose Day serves are fighting with, so for me, this event, this cause is just so personal. Competing felt like a way I could make a bigger impact; to get out there and physically put my body on the line, it’s a huge honor to be a part of this event and this cause and I just hope we can raise millions more than we did last year!”
Red Nose Day was created by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning writer-director Richard Curtis (Love Actually) and has raised $1 billion globally since its launch 30 years ago in the U.K. in 1988.
Gbajabiamila will pull double duty during the celebrity edition of the obstacle course show, still serving as host alongside Matt Iseman and Kristine Leahy. On the course, he will be joined by World of Dance‘s Derek Hough, Dancing With the Stars and WWE star Nikki Bella, Grammy winner Ne-Yo, Superstore‘s Colton Dunn, Access correspondent Scott Evans, Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin, and Runaways‘ Gregg Sulkin.
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Each celeb will be paired with an elite ninja, who will support and mentor their partner as they take on the physical and mental challenges of the course: Kevin Bull will coach Gbajabiamila, Drew Drechsel will coach Ne-Yo, Natalie Duran will coach Dunn, Meagan Martin will coach Hough, Grant McCartney will coach Bella, Flip Rodriguez will coach Evans, Barclay Stockett will coach Liukin, and Maggie Thorne will coach Sulkin.
NBC’s Red Nose Day event kicks off on May 24 at 8 p.m. with Celebrity Ninja Warrior, followed by a special edition of Hollywood Game Night at 9 p.m., and The Red Nose Day Special hosted by Chris Hardwick at 10 p.m.
To support Red Nose Day’s campaign to end child poverty, you can purchase your own red nose at Walgreens starting today.