TUCSON, Ariz. — Lauren Gibbs and her sister Claire, of Roeland Park, Kan., will appear live on the national broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5-6.
Lauren, 13, Claire, 12, and their parents Tim and Natalie also will appear in a videotaped profile on the show. Preview their profile (for media background only) that will accompany the girl’s live appearance.
The national broadcast of the Telethon originates from the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, beginning at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 5 and lasting for 21½ hours. In the Roeland Park area, the show can be seen on KCTV, Channel 5.
Both of the Gibbs girls have a form of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in muscles closest to the center of the body, including those of the shoulders, hips, thighs and upper back. Respiratory muscles also can be involved and spinal curvature often develops.
Lauren uses a manual wheelchair; Claire uses a power wheelchair and is scheduled for scoliosis surgery in October.
Lauren plays wheelchair basketball and loves swimming and the outdoors; she also helps mentor elementary schoolchildren. Claire enjoys interior design and fashion.
Both girls love MDA summer camp, attend MDA clinic, and their family is very active in MDA fundraising activities.
“We’re delighted to have Lauren and Claire on our show,” said Gerald C. Weinberg, MDA president & CEO, and Telethon executive producer. “They and their parents have lives filled with challenge, yet they persevere in their hope and confidence that MDA will find a cure for their disease. Their story will inspire Telethon viewers.”
In 2009, viewer pledges and donations to the Telethon surpassed $60 million. MDA is the first nonprofit to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association, “for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity.”
The 2010 show will be broadcast to nearly 40 million viewers in the United States and Canada via more than 170 television stations in MDA’s "Love Network." Millions more worldwide will be able to see the Telethon live on the Internet via the RealNetworks streaming video feed 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 maintains a clinic for area adults and children with muscle-damaging diseases at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.