Yesterday at his annual Labor Day Telethon broadcast on 190 stations, Jerry Lewis raised nearly $64 million to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The IAFF or International Association of Fire Fighters contributed 40% of the total. In 42 years Lewis has raised over $1.4 billion dollars to fight MD. The annual Telethon accounts for about a quarter of MDA’s net income.
Muscular Dystrophy is actually an umbrella term for some forty-odd neuromuscular diseases. All that money: Must be a lot of people with MD. Actually approximately one in 4,000 newborns gets the disease, which means that 80,000 babies get MD each year in the US.
Another statistic from the National Center for Health Statistics says that around 1,200 people die annually from MD.
MD has no cure so these two statistics do not add up. You can’t have 80,000 babies getting MD and only 1,200 dying from it. Some possibilities are that MD victims leave the US before they die, death statistics are underreported, or birth statistics are overreported. I’ll have to ask Jerry Lewis about this, maybe he knows.
It turns out that burn injuries are second only to motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in the US. According to the Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation, 2.4 million burn injuries are reported each year and one million will sustain substantial or permanent disabilities resulting from their burn injury. That’s twelve times the number of babies getting MD.
The International Association of Fire Fighters has incredible power to raise money. Think what they could do for burn victims.
It’s too bad George Burns isn’t around anymore. With that cigar of his he’d be the perfect host for a telethon.