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Community helps Iain ‘Be A Star’

Monday will be a big day for Iain Spurgin. Not just because it’s Labor Day — but because it’s the day of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.

The Meramec Valley Middle School sixth grader’s family and friends in St. Francois County helped him raise more than $5,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and he will appear on the KSDK’s Labor Day Telethon for MDA. His interview is scheduled at 1:10 p.m.

Family members sent out an e-mail to friends, and members of the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce on Monday asking them to help the boy meet his Be A Star program goal. He is the grandson of former chamber secretary, Joy Spurgin.

He just needed a few hundred dollars more to meet the goal of $5,000.

“We met it (Tuesday) with the help of some folks from St. Francois County,” his father, Brad, said, adding the boy will now get a Best Buy gift card for his efforts.

Most of the money was raised online. To visit the Web site, go to

His deadline for collecting the money is Friday.

Iain was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when he was 4 years old. He lost complete mobility a couple of years ago and now is wheelchair dependent. He has a full-time assistant at school.

Like a typical boy, though, he likes Pokeman trading cards, and playing video games. Brad said he is very good student and has a good personality.

“He likes to go and do as much as he can,” he said.

For the past three years, Iain, his dad, his stepmom, Rebecca, sister, Evie, and stepbrothers, Alec and Jon, have been helping out at the telethon. They do things like set up game booths and answer phones.

“Anything that needs done …” Brad said.

This year, Iain is pretty excited about appearing on the local telethon.

Brad said the money that is raised in the St. Louis area stays in the St. Louis area and is used for things like research, camp and wheelchair repairs.

The telethon starts on NewsChannel 5 at 10:30 p.m. Sunday and runs through 6 p.m. Monday. Last year, a little more than $2 million was raised during the St. Louis telethon.

Brad said there is a lot of caring people in St. Francois County. His relatives at SpaceWalker have helped out, as well as 911 dispatchers, and the St. Francois County Ambulance District. Crossroads Restaurant sells Shamrocks as their own fund-raiser for MDA.

The MDA gives examples of what donations can do:

$25 provides an annual flu shot for one person

$85 funds one minute of research

$100 funds a support group session

$200 covers a clinical diagnostic exam

$650 sends a child to MDA summer camp for a week

$2,000 goes toward purchase of a wheelchair, a set of leg braces or a communication device

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