Jerry Lewis: A Humanitarian Hero and a Comedy Icon
Photo Credit: RICH FURY/RICH FURY/INVISION/AP Photo Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/legendary-entertainer-jerry-lewis-dead-91-article-1.3427487
Muscular dystrophy is a disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass in the body. Gene mutations are the leading cause of the abnormal production of the proteins needed in the body to form healthy muscles. Currently, the disease has no cure, but with proper medication and therapy, the progression of the disease can be slowed and the symptoms can be prevented.
Jerome Levitch, or, as he is famously recognized, Jerry Lewis was born in Newark, New Jersey on March 16, 1926. The whole world loved and adored him for his excellent and dynamic personality as a comedian, director, actor, producer, singer, screenwriter, and a noble humanitarian. At the tender age of 15, Jerry developed his own “Record Act” and had also worked under the stage name Joey Lewis. Later on, he changed his name to Jerry Lewis so as to avoid any kind of confusion about his name with another comedian or athlete. He married twice: with his first wife, he had six sons, and with his second wife, the two adopted a daughter. Unfortunately, on August 20, 2017, the world lost Jerry Lewis to cardiac disease as well as a peripheral vascular disease. Jerry faced many difficulties with his health; he had to deal with an addiction to painkillers for his back pain as well as other issues, such as cardiac arrest, problems with his lungs, and other problems due to his increasing age.
In the year 1966, Jerry’s first official Jerry Lewis Telethon for muscular dystrophy (MD) took place on that Labor Day weekend. Initially, many people were doubtful about this move, but even with the controversy, the telethon turned out to be a huge success, and it raised more than one million dollars for MD. The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) was founded in 1950 by Paul Cohen, who was at that time a leading business man and who also lived with this medical condition. To this day, the MDA is said to continue its fight with neuromuscular diseases, and this is possible with the help of certain celebrities, such as Jerry Lewis, and with donations, which are received from all over the world. The goal of the MDA is to find a cure by amplifying their research investment in the field of drug development and clinical trials so as to bring about more treatment options to MD victims and their family members.
Jerry Lewis has left a huge impact on the world as well as changed the traditions of Labor Day weekend for the better. With his tireless dedication for 45 years, he helped a great deal to raise funds for the fight against different types of unbelievable medical conditions, and at the same time, he raised awareness in the public about muscular dystrophy, that it is indeed a real issue and people do need help with it. Jerry Lewis has for sure left a mark on the hearts of all his fans as he passed on August 20, 2017. He proved throughout his entire life that, despite starting out as a small town boy, he could change his circumstances to what he wanted. He also proved multiple times that the greatest way to give back to society is not only through the gift of humor or talent, which he had, but also by offering undying support to uplift humanity.