Telethon raises more than $59-million for MDA

Tuesday, September 7th 2004, 10:42 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Organizers of the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon say Florida's hurricane hurt donations this year.

The Labor Day event raised $59.4-million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association -- about a million dollars less than last year.

Some Florida television stations canceled broadcasts of the telethon completely. Other showed only the national portions, preventing the broadcast of local segments during which most pledges are made.

The 21-and-a-half hour fund-raiser featured performances by Elton John, Oprah Winfrey, Ray Romano, Tony Orlando and others.

Lewis says the late child poet Mattie Stepanek almost helped the telethon reach its goal. Stepanek, whose inspirational verse made him a best-selling writer, died in June at age 13 from a rare form of muscular dystrophy.