But until this morning I had no idea that Jerry and Ed and those hundreds of celebrities like Dave Matthews and B.B. King and the millions of people across the country who watch the telethon and donate money to fund research to find a cure for muscular dystrophy have been wasting their time.
I read Ben Mattlin’s embittered piece on the Washington Post web site this morning, about how he was a poster child for MDA and never got to meet Jerry. Yes, Mattlin claims that the nasty rumor we’ve all heard over the years is true – Jerry never took a moment to say hello to this cute poster child. Not once. Not a single "Hiya, kid."
MDA also misled millions of Americans into believing Mattlin wanted to be a fireman, when in fact he wanted to be a scientist or detective.
To make matters worse, according to Mattlin, the MDA implied that children with MDA might not grow up. Apparently, children diagnosed with muscular dystrophy must live into advanced old age, succeeding in careers as scientists and detectives, while those of us blessed with health and non-scientific pursuits take our chances.
Mattlin’s article has led me to a new way of thinking about muscular diseases:
- These MDA people do not need my money.
- Jerry Lewis already has plenty of money.
- Jerry does not say hello to the children.
- Video of Jerry chatting with children on this years' telethon was generated by computers at Industrial Light & Magic, a division of LucasFilm Ltd.
- “Jerry’s Kids” is an arcane and insulting label.
- The MDA has been meddling in the career aspirations of youngsters.
- Mattlin seems to suggest that MD is just some minor spine problem.
- Reading this sob story of Mattlin's has made me realize that those with disabilities are to be pitied and felt sorry for by the rest of us.
All this time I thought perhaps if those with muscular dystrophy had some kind of celebrity spokesperson who brought public attention to the diseases of MD, that millions of dollars might be raised. I thought that being a highly publicized organization would foster a desire in both private and public sectors toward advances scientific research, and I had assumed that decades of focus and support for MDA might some day result in advanced treatment and a cure.
Mattlin has obviously been damaged by these shysters at MDA, yet Jerry and MDA and millions of people still hope and believe for the day that these diseases will be cured.
Perhaps the $63.8 million in donations this year was worthwhile, despite the indictments of naysayers like Mattlin. One can only hope that his career as a detective was not marred by the scandalous misrepresentation of this poster child by Jerry and the MDA.