TUCSON, Ariz. - One of the world's greatest humanitarians of all time, Jerry Lewis has announced he's retiring as host of the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon. "As a labor of love, I've hosted the annual Telethon since 1966, and I'll be making my final appearance on the show this year by performing my signature song, 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. I'll continue to serve MDA as its National Chairman – as I've done since the early 1950's. I'll never desert MDA and my kids."
Having banked some 900 hours of live television time encouraging America to help fuel worldwide research seeking treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases, while simultaneously enabling MDA to provide unparalleled medical and health care services through its national network of some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics, Lewis today confirmed, "It's time for an all new Telethon era. This year's six hour prime-time Telethon on September 4 will be spectacular, and I'm thrilled to be part of it. We're so close to treatments that it's absolutely vital for everyone to tune in and make a generous donation. America has always found a way each year to give me that just one dollar more to help my kids."
MDA President & CEO Gerald C. Weinberg said, "As MDA continues the growth Jerry Lewis has done so much to inspire, all of us who've been privileged to work beside him, and the hundreds of thousands throughout the world affected by the myriad of muscle diseases MDA battles, will acknowledge in our hearts forever the unrivaled role Jerry has played in our lives and the lives of all Americans. We're deeply honored that Jerry Lewis will continue as MDA's National Chairman and we're profoundly grateful for everything he has done and is doing for the Association."
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. See the award-winning MDA "Make A Muscle, Make A Difference" PSA.
In addition to funding more than 330 research teams worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics; orchestrates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; facilitates extraordinary local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters fighting progressive muscle diseases. Known globally for the MDA Labor Day Telethon, the Association 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."
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