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Jerry Lewis Celebrates Successful MDA Telethon


Although contributions and pledges were slightly down from last year, Jerry Lewis still has much reason to celebrate. This year’s Jerry’s 45th annual Labor Day MDA Telethon brought in $58.9 million for muscular dystrophy research and service programs.

MDA Telethon Raises $58.9 Million for Muscular Dystrophy Research

"I'm heartened by the unique ability of Americans to help others in need, when they themselves are likely struggling financially," said Lewis, national chairman of the Tucson, Ariz.-based Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The telethon overall has raised over $2.4 billion for research, therapy, and aid for children, known as “Jerry’s Kids” who suffer from muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

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Hosted by Jann Carl (Entertainment Tonight), Alison Sweeney (Days of Our Lives), and Nancy O’Dell (The Biggest Loser), the Labor Day extravaganza took place for the fifth consecutive year at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas. Forty million viewers watched dozens of performers during the 21 ½ hour event which began at 9pm on Sunday night (Eastern Time) and continued through Monday evening.

This year’s MDA National Goodwill Ambassador was 11-year-old Abbey Umali of Redlands, California. She opened the program by performing two songs. Mr. Lewis, of course, closed out the show with the traditional singing of his signature song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

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Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that weakens the muscles that help the body move. About 1 million people in the United States have some form of the disease. There is no cure and life expectancy depends upon the degree to which muscles are weakened, especially the muscles of the heart and lungs.