Sad news today as the world mourns comedian and Muscular Dystrophy Advocate Jerry Lewis’ death. The director/producer died at the age of 91.
Jerry Lewis was a 1960’s movie star who is well known for hosting an annual telethon to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Over the course of about 45 years, the telecast raised approximately $1.46 billion for the cause, according to NBC News.
Muscular dystrophy is progressive and degenerative disease, characterized by muscle weakness. There are nine forms of muscular dystrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy being the most severe and most common in boys.
According to the MDA website, R. Rodney Howell, MD, MDA Chairman of the Board states:
“MDA would not be the organization it is today if it were not for Jerry’s tireless efforts on behalf of “his kids.”
While the reason for his crusade against muscular dystrophy is unknown, Lewis also suffered from many of his own diseases, pulmonary fibrosis being one of them. Lewis will not only be remembered for his comedy, but for his advocacy. He not only helped the muscular dystrophy world, but everyone in the rare disease world. At a time where there was little public knowledge about disabilities, he helped deliver the message that we are all humans, regardless of disability or ability, deserving of the same rights to life as everyone else.