Although the final results haven't been tallied, the Wabash Valley pledged about $195,000 to help Jerry's Kids for the Muscular Dystrophy Association over the Labor Day Weekend. The results were announced shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday on WTWO-TV, the local telethon affiliate. The amount, at that time, appeared to be about $6,000 short of the approximately $201,000 raised in the 2004 telethon.
Nationally, the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon raised nearly $55 million, about $4.4 million short of last year's effort.
This year, the telethon also gave viewers the opportunity to donate to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Those contributions were added to a $1 million donation from MDA and funneled through the Salvation Army, according to a news release from Bob Mackle, Director of Public Information for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
"I'm overjoyed that we were able to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina and at the same time continue our 40-year tradition of helping 'my kids,'" Lewis said. "Of course, I'm not surprised. The American people have never let me down."
The 21 1/2-hour telethon originated from the International Ballroom of The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., beginning Sunday night and was broadcast on nearly 200 stations.
A highlight of the show was the presentation of a special Emmy to Lewis for his work on behalf of the MDA. The Emmy will also be presented during the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
MDA Board Member Ed McMahon returned as the national telethon's anchor.