The article by Reese Robrahn, "It's the Telethon That Hurts," (Free for All, Aug. 22) needs clarification. What does it hurt, and what has it hurt?

Mr. Robrahn, it seems that you have watched only a minute portion of the telethon; otherwise, the adults and children who appear each year would have been described not as "childlike, helpless, non-functioning, non-contributing members of society," but as individuals who have achieved a place in the mainstream of life.

Mr. Robrahn, did you see Robert G. Sampson, an attorney and vice president of United Air Lines, one of our muscular dystrophy directors? Was the depiction of his life in a wheelchair since age 9 depressing, or was his tale inspirational? Or did you see David Bowman,

the chief budget officer of the drug enforcement

section of the Department of Justice? These are

only two of the thousands who do not consider

themselves "non-contributing" members of


Do you remember, Mr. Robrahn, how the

"pity and sympathy" approach that you

believe is so degrading worked for the

victims of polio? And how were the

funds for polio research raised? Yes

--with the help of some of those

"show biz" people, as in our

telethon. They worked

with President Franklin Roosevelt, a victim of polio. Why should the Muscular Dystrophy Association deprive itself of the same generosity from those show biz people?

Why, Mr. Robrahn, have you not endeavored to learn something tangible and factual about the muscular dystrophy organization instead of criticizing and making statements at variance with the facts? Did you investigate the free clinics that the MDA has established over the country? I rather doubt that you have. For your edification, we have some 250 free clinics in all the states plus Guam, Puerto Rico and the District. And in case you do not know it, the MDA furnishes wheelchairs and orthopedic appliances, without cost to the patient or family.

You will never discredit the telethon or Jerry Lewis, for the thousands of volunteers like myself who have been in the forefront since 1950 are going to carry on with our belief that our beloved Jerry Lewis will not always sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" but a new song-- "You Are Now Walking Alone." Mr. Robrahn, why have you not learned of the dedication of Jerry Lewis and his friends who are doing something that will live long after those who would seek to destroy are forgotten?

The next time you write for The Post, Mr. Robrahn, do your homework first.