Will Downing to appear on Jerry Lewis Telethon

Will DowningTUCSON, Ariz., August 14, 2008 - Will Downing, songwriter and singer whose resonant baritone has enthralled rhythm-and-blues and contemporary jazz fans for 20 years, will perform on the national broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.

He will appear live via remote from New York.

Downing's appearance on the show has special significance. In 2006, he learned he has the debilitating disease polymyositis, in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks muscle fibers. For almost a year, Downing was bedridden and nearly unable to move.

Will DowningTUCSON, Ariz., August 14, 2008 - Will Downing, songwriter and singer whose resonant baritone has enthralled rhythm-and-blues and contemporary jazz fans for 20 years, will perform on the national broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.

He will appear live via remote from New York.

Downing's appearance on the show has special significance. In 2006, he learned he has the debilitating disease polymyositis, in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks muscle fibers. For almost a year, Downing was bedridden and nearly unable to move.

In April, Downing, 45, announced that with the aid of immunosuppressant drugs of the type tested in Muscular Dystrophy Association clinical trials, he was recovering and returning to his performing career.

Downing has 13 albums to his credit and won the International Association of African-American Music's Diamond Award in 2002.

MDA National Chairman Jerry Lewis said Downing is living proof that MDA's fight against muscle-wasting diseases is paying off. "I'm so pleased that Will's magnificent voice has returned to its vibrancy and Telethon audiences will be treated to his extraordinary talent," Lewis said.

Downing acknowledges that breakthroughs in medical research helped him beat a disease that initially dealt him almost unbearable pain. "My family's support, faith in God and doctors who knew how to fight my illness brought me back from some very tough times," he said. "Performing at the Telethon is the least I can do to show my appreciation."

Originating from the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, the MDA Telethon will begin at 9 p.m. EDT Sunday, Aug. 31, and run for 21½ hours. In the New York area, the Telethon can be seen on WWOR, Channel 9.

The show will be broadcast to nearly 40 million viewers in the United States and Canada by some 180 television stations that comprise MDA's "Love Network." Millions more worldwide will be able to see the Telethon on the Internet via RealNetworks at mda.org.

In 2007, pledges and donations to the MDA Telethon brought in a record $63.8 million.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is a voluntary health agency working to defeat muscular dystrophy and related diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services and far-reaching professional and public health education.

MDA's programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors.

 

 

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