Area residents fight for MDA

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Pictured above, from left, are Emilee Sooter and Lexi Witherow, of Pierce City, who helped raise donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association on Labor Day weekend. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]

Emilee Sooter and Lexi Witherow were among the volunteers working with the Pierce City Fire Department on Labor Day weekend who collected donations to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

The Pierce City Fire Department collected $414 for the effort.

Jerry Bear, executive director of the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the MDA, said, "There have been many major changes with MDA the past few years. However, the mission of MDA is still to find treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy. We are grateful to everyone that has worked so hard to help us in these difficult economic times."

Monett donors contributed more than $16,500 to the effort in the annual Jail and Bail fundraiser held on Feb. 1. The national effort went through major changes this year, shifting from the traditional 22-hour live telethon to a three-hour taped national show with a one-hour local show. Bear said there was no national tote board and only an 800 phone number to call instead of a local phone bank.

The Greater Ozarks Chapter's tote board was at $595,000 at the end of the show, down $100,000 from a year ago, but not reflective of true totals since firefighters were still out collecting donations and the phone bank tally is still not finalized.

Firefighters who usually spend three days gathering donations reduced their time to one day because of Hurricane Isaac, Bear said. The local telethon was also held on a different TV station, KSPR, for the first time in 42 years. Bear said MDA leaders are still adjusting to the changes and hope to have a final assessment by year's end.

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