|Gerald C. Weinberg|
Despite the summer heat, at MDA it seems like it’s just minutes until Labor Day and our biggest fundraising event of the year, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. As you can imagine, planning for this mammoth, 21½-hour national event is quite an undertaking.
We know we can always count on the presence of our No. 1 volunteer, Jerry Lewis, who has never missed a show for “his kids” in 43 years, and whose dedication has made the Telethon a legend around the world.
Once again we’ll be broadcasting live from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, which has graciously contributed its marvelous facilities to us for the past four years. We again will be benefiting from the talents of our wonderful volunteer celebrity co-hosts Tom Bergeron, Jann Carl, Billy Gilman, Nancy O’Dell, Alison Sweeney and Ace Young. This year, for the first time, former MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Luke Christie will join the national broadcast as the host of the youth segments, in his role as our new MDA National Youth Chairman.
To learn about some of the wonderful individuals and families who’ll be profiled on this year’s show, see "Telethon 2009."
We’re betting that the Telethon will continue to achieve the ratings success it’s shown in the past few years. Even as major network television viewership generally declines, the Telethon’s ratings are healthy. Last year’s show was watched by 22 million households, giving it an audience comparable to “Dancing with the Stars” (also hosted by MDA National Vice President Tom Bergeron), “Desperate Housewives” and the Academy Awards.
Although the Telethon is MDA’s best-known fundraiser, we couldn’t sustain our programs of research, services and education were it not for the work throughout the year of our national sponsors. These dedicated organizations and businesses are highlighted on the Telethon when they present facsimile checks representing their yearlong efforts in behalf of the Association.
Want to help us say thanks to them? Please look through this list of MDA national sponsors and then, in your own communities, support and acknowledge them — they mean so much to the fight against muscle disease:
Acosta; Burger King; CITGO; ClubCorp; DECA (an association of marketing students); Denny’s; ERA Real Estate; Harley-Davidson Motor Company; Homebuilders; International Association of Fire Fighters; International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association; Kappa Alpha Order; Kroger; Lowe’s; National Association of Letter Carriers; National Child Care Association; Outback Steakhouse; Real Networks; Safeway; SUPERVALU; 7-Eleven Franchisees; 7UP; Tall Cedars; Valero and the Universal Cheerleaders Association.
Have a wonderful summer — we’ll see you over the Labor Day weekend!
With best wishes,
Gerald C. Weinberg
President & CEO