Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon to Appeal for Hurricane Relief

Legendary comedian Jerry Lewis announced today that his annual Labor Day Telethon benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association will also feature celebrity fund-raising appeals for the relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also announced that MDA will donate $1 million of its funds to help victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Lewis said stars of music, movies, comedy and other fields would be recruited to make appeals for hurricane relief during the first four and last four hours of the 21 1/2-hour broadcast. The show begins at 9 p.m. EDT on Sunday and ends at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Monday. A special 800 number will be used for the hurricane donations, with all proceeds going to the Salvation Army's efforts in the stricken states.

"While the needs of  'my kids' are with us all year round, Hurricane Katrina is a national disaster on a scale that's difficult to comprehend,"

Lewis said. "We simply couldn't ignore the need to help. We already have the infrastructure in place.

"If I've learned anything in the more than 50 years that I've led MDA, it's that the generosity of the American people knows no bounds," he said. "I'm sure that with their fellow citizens in such dire need, they'll dig deep and do everything they can to help. I'm hopeful that many people will be willing to make two phone calls and donate to both causes."

This is the 40th year for the MDA Telethon, which is being broadcast live from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., on nearly 200 "Love Network" stations, including KTRE-TV. Last year's Telethon raised $59.4 million to support the Association's programs of research and services benefiting more than 1 million Americans affected by neuromuscular diseases.

Source:  Muscular Dystrophy Association press release by Bob Mackle, MDA Public Information Director