Oh, What a Feeling!

Breaking records, saving lives

by Quest Staff on November 1, 2007 - 4:26pm

QUEST Vol. 14, No. 6
IAFF President Harold Schaitberger
IAFF President Harold Schaitberger

MDA Telethon star Jerry Lewis did a bit better than his avowed goal of raising “one dollar more” during the 2007 marathon fund-raiser — $3 million more than in 2006 in fact, yielding another record breaker at $63.8 million. The master entertainer and committed humanitarian certainly hasn’t lost his touch.

Country music duo Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, of the group Montgomery Gentry
Country music duo Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, of the group Montgomery Gentry
Co-hosts Tom Bergeron, Alison Sweeney and Bob Zany
Co-hosts Tom Bergeron, Alison Sweeney and Bob Zany

Among the wonderful young people who appeared live on stage with their families to tell their stories of living with neuromuscular diseases were Jacob Richard, 10, of Sugar Land, Texas, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy; 11-year-old Makenna Sewell of Forest Grove, Ore., who has spinal muscular atrophy; and Abbey Umali, 8, of Redlands, Calif., who has Dejerine-Sottas disease.

Scott Stafne, 35, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and his wife, Kirsten, from Minneapolis, shared their story with the audience, as did Tina Forbes, 62, of Houston, who has myasthenia gravis.

Among those appearing in pretaped profiles was Joshua France, 9, of Graham, Wash., who has DMD. Joshua was portrayed along with his parents, sisters Raye and Emilee, and brother Samuel, who also has DMD.

Luke Christie, 14, of Due West, S.C., shared with Telethon audiences the charm and spunk that have carried him through two years as MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador.

Country singing sensations Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry were among the top-name performers who joined the Telethon’s back-to-back entertainment lineup. Other entertainers who generously donated their time and talent included Maureen McGovern, Celine Dion, John Ondrasik, Thelma Houston, Carrot Top, the Universal Cheerleaders, the Flying Elvi, Tony Orlando, Ace Young, Yolanda Adams and the casts of several musical theater productions, including “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Mamma Mia” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Jacob Richard and family with Jann Carl
Jacob Richard and family with Jann Carl

Veteran Telethon anchor Ed McMahon and a gaggle of co-hosts added glamour, vitality and general wackiness to the legendary fund-raising extravaganza. Sharing co-host duties were Tom Bergeron, host of “Dancing with the Stars”; Jann Carl of “Entertainment Tonight”; “Days of our Lives” and “The Biggest Loser” star Alison Sweeney; funnymen Bob Zany and Norm Crosby; award-winning recording artist Billy Gilman; and the Muppets.

National Goodwill Ambassador Luke Christie
National Goodwill Ambassador Luke Christie

International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold Schaitberger joined Jerry Lewis in saluting fire fighters nationwide for their successful MDA Fill-the-Boot campaign.

Other sponsors Jerry thanked included Harley-Davidson Motor Company, SUPERVALU, Lowe’s Home Improvement, ERA Real Estate, 7-Eleven, 7Up, Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America, CITGO Petroleum, Chase Bank, ACOSTA Sales & Marketing, DECA, Universal Cheerleaders, Safeway, RealNetworks, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the National Association of Letter Carriers, Burger King franchisees, Homebuilders, OSI/Outback Steakhouse, A&P, Campus Reps, Kappa Alpha Order, Convenience Store Industry and Valero Energy Corporation.

No votes yet
MDA cannot respond to questions asked in the comments field. For help with questions, contact your local MDA office or clinic or email publications@mdausa.org. See comment policy