TUCSON, AZ.—Despite the effects of an uncertain economy, contributions and pledges to the 44th annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon over Labor Day nonetheless totaled $60,481,231 million.
MDA National Chairman and Telethon star Jerry Lewis said he was impressed by the show of support from Telethon viewers even during hard times.
"These are very special people, and their money comes straight from the heart," Lewis said. "Right now, the only thing I can think of to say, other than thank you, thank you is, 'love conquers all.' So many people, everywhere, even with cares of their own, dug deep to show their wonderful compassion for others who need their help."
The funds will allow the Muscular Dystrophy Association to continue funding worldwide research to find treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy and related diseases.
Contributions also provide assistance with purchase of equipment such as wheelchairs and leg braces; send thousands of children to MDA summer camp; and support more than 200 MDA clinics across the country.
Last year's Telethon raised a record $65 million.
Lewis was surprised during the broadcast with the news that he'll be receiving a special Trustees' Emmy award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in January for his work on behalf of MDA.
The legendary 21½-hour event originated for the fourth year in a row from the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas. It reached nearly 40 million viewers by way of 180 television stations that comprise MDA's "Love Network." People around the world saw the Telethon at www.mda.org via RealNetworks.
Co-hosts of the show included TV's Jann Carl;" Nancy O'Dell, host of "Access Hollywood;" and "Days of Our Lives" star and host of television's "Biggest Loser" `Alison Sweeney. Also co-hosting as well as performing were recording artists Ace Young and Billy Gilman. Tom Bergeron of "Dancing with the Stars" and "Funniest Home Videos" appeared in taped segments throughout the broadcast.
Co-hosts conducted interviews with families who shared what it's like to live every moment with diseases that progressively cause loss of muscle. Medical researchers also appeared to describe the steady advances being made in the fight against those diseases.
The entertainment line-up at this year's Telethon included Wynonna, Dolly Parton, Tony Orlando, Reba McEntire, Bo Bice, Charo, Train, Comedian George Wallace, Lee Greenwood, Joshua Bell, Three Dog Night, Five for Fighting, ventriloquist Terry Fator and many more.