Region tops MDA goal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 1999

AP and staff reports

It was McKoy Jacobs’ first time donating to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Tuesday, September 07, 1999

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It was McKoy Jacobs’ first time donating to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The Albert Lea boy, almost 4, excitedly placed collection containers at local convenience stores with his family’s help to raise the money.

Plus, he put in some money of his own.

&uot;He had some pennies, and he scooped them up and put them in,&uot; said his mother.

Jacobs earned a chance to donate his collections at the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon’s site at the Northbridge Mall – and he walked away liking his new MDA T-shirt.

So did plenty of others Monday, with $86,688 collected for this region of southern Minnesota, including Albert Lea and Austin plus Osage and Charles City, Iowa, according to KAAL TV-6.

That just tops last year’s collections of $86,599 for the region.

Nationally, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon raised $53.1 million, a new record over last year’s mark of $51.6 million.

Locally, the telethon was going well at the Northbridge Mall Monday afternoon, said mall representative Pam Folkens.

Activities included a carnival in which children could buy tickets to play games and win prizes.

&uot;We’re having a lot of fun, with lots of wonderful volunteers making this happen,&uot; Folkens said.

Among local highlights were five $100 pledges including a $125 donation from one child, Tyler Edwards, plus a $2,690 donation from the Lake Mills Fire Department, and $2,000 from Days Inn.

On the national stage, Jerry Lewis fought off double vision and headaches to host his annual Labor Day Telethon, singing ”Sitting on Top of the World” but resting backstage much of the time before returning for Monday’s finale.

”He experienced some double vision and his blood pressure spiked,” said Jim Brown, a telethon spokesman. ”With the double vision he literally could not read the cue cards, and with a live broadcast it becomes impossible to continue when you can’t read.”

Lewis appeared Sunday night for the first three hours of the event. He sang a duet with Martin Short and performed another solo. He returned Monday for the final four hours.

”I’m thrilled and grateful for the support of our viewers, and filled with hope that the dollars we’ve raised will translate into new research breakthroughs to help us conquer the muscle-wasting diseases,” Lewis said in a statement.

Lewis, 73, was hospitalized last month with viral meningitis. Two neurologists monitored his condition throughout the broadcast.

The 34th annual telethon was broadcast live on the Internet in English, Spanish and Japanese.

The final figure was expected to climb because many local stations extended their broadcast after the show’s official end, Brown said.

Lewis has vowed to conduct the telethon each Labor Day until a cure is found for neuromuscular diseases, Brown said.