By JANNA HYATT
The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) held its 46th Annual Telethon in partnership with 13WLOS to air the six-hour telethon region-wide at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel. The new and shortened format was the largest success for fundraising since 2008. Darcel Grimes and Frank Fraboni, both from 13WLOS, hosted the telethon and introduced family, friends and community partners of the MDA.
According to the MDA’s national office, the 2011 telethon raised $61,491,393, up from $58,919,838 raised during last year’s 21.5-hour telethon.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who made this amazing outcome possible,” said MDA president and CEO Gerald C. Weinburg. “Kudos must go to our four outstanding telethon co-hosts, to the entertainment icons performing and making persuasive appeals, to our incredible cause-marketing partners, to more than 150 television stations comprising the ‘Love Network,’ and to generous Americans in every community. Together, we’ve confirmed that primetime is where our telethon can achieve the most for the families we serve.”
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel’s Vice President of Human Resource and External Relations, Jo Blaylock, told 13WLOS News Anchor Darcel Grimes, “The MDA is an organization that impacts our community and employees to make a difference and we are happy to support their efforts,” in reference to the $30,000 donation from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel.
Volunteers from Kohls, the Asheville Fire Department, Mountain Energy and the HERO program (Harrah’s Employees Reaching Out), manned the phones to greet callers and help with pledges. Callers over the viewing area gave generously to join the Make a Muscle, Make a Difference campaign. Viewers were also treated to various artists and talent who participated in the telethon entertainment to promote research and a cure for muscle disease.
For more information on MDA and the telethon, please visit www.mda.org.
Janna is the community relations specialist at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel.