(Photo : Univision/Facebook)
Update: Teleton USA results, click here.
Univision is launching the American version of the Teleton tonight with the goal of raising $7 million.
Teleton USA, organized by Univision and Fundación Teletón confirmed the telethon on Oct. 1, with Sabado Gigante host Don Francisco serving as host along with journalist Jorge Ramos, singer Lucero, and Galilea Montijo.
"We're thrilled to launch this historic event in the United States," said Univision Networks President Cesar Conde. "For the first time, all of the money raised in this telethon will be used to benefit disabled children in this country. This event will undoubtedly have a huge impact in our community, bringing hope and help to thousands of families that desperately need these services to improve their quality of life."
Teleton USA organizers are hoping the event will promote national unity especially amongst Latinos, promote a culture of integration for people with a disability, cancer, or has autism, and distribute funds for the construction and operation of rehabilitation centers for children with disabilities in Texas.
Organizers chose Texas due to its location, in the center of the US.
The Teleton gives credit to comedian Jerry Lewis, considered to be the creator of the telethon when he was host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual telethon. However, the first "Teleton" took place in Chile on Dec. 9, 1978, after Don Francisco saw Lewis and his telethon. All funds raised from Teleton Chile went to children with disabilities. This year's Teleton Chile raised 25,445,520,245 Chilean dollars, which converts to $53,017,023 in US dollars.
Ahead of the 28-hour event, a video featuring the theme song for Teleton USA was released on YouTube, titled "Por Un Mundo Mejor," or "For a Better World," with Gloria Estefan, Lucero, Jesus del Group Reik, and El Cata participating.
Teleton USA starts tonight at 10 p.m. EST and will continue until Dec. 16 at 2 a.m. EST.
Update: Teleton USA has reached its goal, click here for the final numbers.
Donations are still being accepted, click here.