Celine Dion was among the artists that performed on the MDA Telethon Sunday night, raising a total of $61.5 million, its best take since the second Great Depression gripped the nation in 2008. The six-hour program featured an exclusive taped performance of "Open Arms" from Celine's Las Vegas show, along with an acknowledgment to the long-time contributions of former host Jerry Lewis.
"It's always a privilege to be part of the MDA Labor Day telethon," she said. "I hope by taking part in this great cause I can help make MDA and its mission to make life better for families who are fighting muscle diseases.
"From supporting the work of scientists who are searching for treatments and cures, to helping children go to summer camp, MDA provides love and care in so many ways. Thanks to your generous contributions, MDA can continue to do so many wonderful things for those in need."
Celine added, "I want to say a few special thanks to my dear friend Jerry Lewis. Jerry, you will always be a hero to the MDA families and to people everywhere. You are a shining example the power we all have to make the world a better place." She dedicated "Open Arms" to the 85-year-old.
The first MDA Telethon was held in 1959, becoming an annual Labor Day weekend tradition by the late 1960s. Also taking part in this year's telecast were Jordin Sparks, Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Billy Ray Cyrus, Richie Sambora, Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez.
Meanwhile, Celine appears in the September 2011 issue of Télé Review, promoting her latest fragrance. CelineDion.com claims this is a spanking new image of Dion.