TUCSON, Ariz. — Neil Selinger, a former attorney and family man, has reinvented himself since being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in spring 2009. He will be featured on the national broadcast of the 2010 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5-6.
Selinger, from Larchmont, N.Y., and his family will appear in a videotaped profile on the national Muscular Dystrophy Association broadcast expected to be watched by nearly 40 million viewers in the United States and Canada. You can watch his profile on WWOR, Channel 9.
The national Telethon originates from the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, beginning at 9 p.m. EDT., Sunday, Sept. 5, and running for 21½ hours.
"My husband has been unbelievable," said Selinger's wife, Rima. "He doesn't complain or feel sorry for himself. He has a peace about him that I never knew he had or never noticed."
Selinger, 56, is the father of three girls: Hanna, 30, Emily, 20, and Julia, 17. He remains mobile by using a power wheelchair.
"The thing about living with ALS is adjusting to being a different person than who you thought you were," Selinger said. "It's a matter of accepting limitations and not being frustrated by them … I'm trying the best I can to take what each day brings and enjoy the things I probably overlooked most of my life."
Selinger, who retired as an attorney after 31 years in the business, has joined the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College. He also tutors high school students, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and has become an active voice in the local ALS support group.
"Kudos to Neil for doing so much to help others while valiantly fighting against the progressive disease that's damaging his voluntary muscles," said Gerald C. Weinberg, MDA president & CEO, and Telethon executive director.
The star-studded show is expected to be watched by nearly 40 million viewers in the United States and Canada via more than 170 television and cable stations in MDA's "Love Network." People worldwide will be able to see the Telethon live via RealNetworks at www.mda.org.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education. MDA is the first nonprofit organization to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association ("for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity").
In the Larchmont area, MDA maintains a clinic for adults and children with muscle-damaging diseases at the White Plains Hospital and Medical Center in White Plains, N.Y.