The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), based in Washington, D.C., presented a check for $27,879,000 raised by career fire fighters to the Muscular Dystrophy Association during the 2010 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon this past weekend.
The record-breaking contribution – presented by IAAF General President and national MDA Vice President Harold Schaitberger – was delivered to MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Abbey Umali during the 21 ½-hour broadcast. The contribution represents year-round fundraising efforts for MDA by the IAFF, MDA’s largest sponsor.
“For 56 years, the IAFF and its members have worked tirelessly on behalf of the Association to bring help and hope to people with muscular dystrophy and other muscle diseases,” said Gerald Weinberg, MDA’s president & CEO. “Their signature Fill the Boot campaign advances worldwide research and helps MDA provide a wide array of services to families affected by neuromuscular diseases. It’s also important to note that many career fire fighters donate their time each year at summer camp, delighting thousands of youngsters ages 6 to 17 nationwide.’’
The Telethon raised $58,919,838 in pledges and contributions. WDCW-TV, Channel 50, in Washington, covered the presentation live.
“Fire fighters are in the business of saving the lives of those in need,” said Harold Schaitberger, IAFF general president. “Muscular dystrophy is a fire we’ve fought for more than half a century and we won’t quit until the job is done.”
About 40 million viewers were estimated to have watched the 2010 Telethon via MDA’s more than 170 “Love Network” television stations. The broadcast also was available online at www.mda.org, courtesy of RealNetworks. Fans also could follow the Telethon via MDA’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube sites, where they were treated to a behind-the-scenes look during the broadcast. For the fifth year, the Telethon originated from the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas.
The IAFF has been an MDA national sponsor for 56 years. Its employees and customers have raised money for the Association through their involvement with the annual Fill-the-Boot campaign, golf and softball tournaments and other special events. Many fire fighters also contribute their time at MDA summer camps across the country. For more information on these programs, please visit http://mda.org/help/natevents.html.
The IAFF is the labor union representing more than 298,000 professional firefighters and emergency medical personnel in the United States and Canada.
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.