2006-09-07 / Arts & Entertainment

MDA Telethon Sets New Record

Thanks to an all-star talent list headed by Celine Dion and a quarter of a million dedicated volunteers across the country, the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon set a record in contributions and pledges.

As MDA's 41st Telethon ended at 6 p.m. EDT Sunday, the tote board showed an all-time high of $61,013,855 for the voluntary health organization's programs of research and services to benefit people with neuromuscular diseases.

"I'm deeply gratified by the generosity of the American public," MDA National Chairman Jerry Lewis said. "They never fail to come through for 'my kids' who have muscular dystrophy and other conditions that waste muscles and too often shorten lives."

Lewis, 80, returned to star in the Telethon despite a heart attack in June. He has never missed a Telethon.

This year's show was dedicated to longtime MDA President & CEO Robert Ross, who died in June.

Returning to "the entertainment capital of the world" after 12 years in Hollywood. The 21- and-half-hour live Telethon originated from Las Vegas and was broadcast nationwide and in Canada on the 190 stations in MDA's "Love Network."

Lewis announced Monday that the Telethon would return to Las Vegas in 2007.

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