Published: Sep 07, 2010 2:03 AM EDT
Updated: Sep 06, 2010 11:03 PM EDT

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Despite the struggling economy, officials with the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon say contributions and pledges from this year's Labor Day event totaled $58.9 million.

The amount was down from nearly $60.5 million last year and a record $65 million in 2008. But Lewis says he's heartened by Americans' ability to help others in need even when they're struggling financially.
Lewis, national chairman of the Tucson, Ariz.-based Muscular Dystrophy Association, praised the progress the organization is making for people living with muscle diseases.

The 45th annual telethon originated for the fifth consecutive year from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas and reached some 40 million viewers through 170 television stations.

Dozens of performers joined the 21½-hour event, including Barry Manilow, Michael Feinstein, Carrot Top and Norm Crosby.