BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon (search) raised $54.9 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (search) and more than $1 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina (search).
Lewis, 79, decided to devote the two-day telethon to both children with muscular dystrophy and Katrina victims after seeing reports from the Gulf Coast.
The Katrina donations will go to the Salvation Army in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Tens of thousands of people are out of their homes, and many of those homes have been destroyed.
"I'm overjoyed 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.
The telethon's total to fight muscular dystrophy was $4.5 million less than last year, but lower figures were expected due to the outpouring of donations for the hurricane victims. It was only the third time in 40 years that the telethon failed to surpass the previous year's total.