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Retro Summer Raises Funds

Area events start a week of fund-raising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Grace Cassidy of Annandale feels a lot of gratitude toward all the people who have helped raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. "There are so many people who support them," said Cassidy, whose son Chris has a form of muscular dystrophy known as Duchenne.

"It helps you get through the day to know that they're out there helping," Grace Cassidy said as she surveyed the crowd at the Retro Summer Fest at the Silver Diner in Fairfax.

The event was designed as a fund-raiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and took place at three other Silver Diner locations — Rockville, Md.; Cherry Hill, N.J.; and Virginia Beach, said Joel Duprey, the general manager of the Fairfax location. "This is a prelude to try to get people interested in the telethon," he said.

MDA's annual Labor Day telethon, which is hosted by comedian Jerry Lewis, will be broadcast locally on WB50, beginning on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 10 p.m.

Last Sunday's Retro Summer Fest event raised $60,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association between the four locations, Duprey said.

"Bob Giamo, the owner of the Silver Diner, is a good friend of MDA," said Annie Kennedy, coordinator of health-care services for the Washington, D.C.-area chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. "They've been phenomenal in their support for us," she said.

The Retro Summer Fest featured a moon bounce, face painting and raffle prizes. But the big draw of the day had to be the classic car show. "Cars is what motivated me," said Mike Courtney of Burke, as he was checking out the engine of one of the cars on display.

IN ADDITION to the classic cars, some custom models were on hand. Larry Lawhorne of Chantilly brought the truck he built by hand over seven years with parts cannibalized from various cars and trucks.

Lawhorne was there for more than just showing off his work, however. "We always try to help out with the MDA. It's such a good cause," he said.

Duprey said that 73 cars took part in the show, and each of them paid a registration fee, which will go to support the MDA. "One hundred percent goes to MDA," he said.

The Fairfax restaurant has also been soliciting one dollar donations,, which allow patrons to have their name placed on a yellow smiley face on the walls. "There are smiley faces all over," Duprey said.

Chris Cassidy Jr., 15, was happy to be at the event to support the organization that has helped him. "MDA has been helping out my family for quite a few years," he said.

Chris, who was MDA's Goodwill Ambassador for the state of Virginia from 2000-01, said that MDA has provided his family with a motorized scooter, which he uses to get around, since he cannot walk far as a result of the disease.

Chris stressed the importance of donating to Muscular Dystrophy Association, which is funded entirely by private donations, he said. "We really depend on the donations."

Chris and his family will appear on the MDA's annual telethon this weekend from the local broadcast location. He's slated to be on sometime on Monday, Sept. 6, after 3 p.m. "Be sure to watch," Chris said.