Aloe Blacc, Alyssa Milano, Brad Paisley, Bret Michaels, Fall Out Boy, Jason Derulo, Josh Groban, LeAnn Rimes and Rascal Flatts among those set to appear on Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon
The show, focused on saving and improving the lives of people fighting muscle disease, airs Sunday, Aug. 31, at on ABC
The entertainment industry has once again joined together to lend support to the MDA "Show of Strength" Telethon, benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The 49th broadcast of the television fundraising event will air in primetime, Sunday, Aug. 31 (9-11 p.m.) on the ABC Television Network.
Delivering one-of-a-kind performances of their new, hit or classic songs are Grammy winners Rascal Flatts and LeAnn Rimes, plus Aloe Blacc, American Authors, Bret Michaels, Fall Out Boy, Jason Derulo, Matt Nathanson, R5 and Sara Evans.
The long-standing Labor Day weekend tradition combines performances and celebrity presenters to engage viewers with powerful "stories of strength" and moving calls-to-action to help families affected by muscle diseases.
Celebrity presenters on the telethon include Alyssa Milano, Brad Paisley, Charles Esten, Chris Powell, Jann Carl, Jordin Sparks, Josh Groban, Kesha, Kevin Frazier, Laila Ali, Ludacris, Nancy O'Dell, Pete Wentz, ABC's Dr. Richard Besser, Susan Lucci, Terry Fator, Tom Bergeron and Victor Ortiz.
"MDA's telethon gives us a chance to celebrate the compassionate support of our celebrity friends, sponsors and individuals in communities across the country who give generously to help save and improve lives of those fighting muscle disease," said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. "With clinical trials of potential new therapies underway, this is a time of hope and progress for the children and adults we serve. We urge families and friends to gather together on Aug. 31 to watch, whether via broadcast or online, and see the fantastic performers and inspiring stories of those who are fighting muscle disease with grace and courage."
Next week, telethon premiere parties will take place in communities in every state in the nation to rally MDA families, sponsors and volunteers, as well as to engage new supporters. Public service and promotional campaigns to help promote the show have already started to air.
While the telethon has consistently enjoyed robust support from some of the biggest celebrities in show business, MDA says the real stars on the broadcast are the individuals and families served by MDA, including five families who will share their stories and give the public a glimpse of what it means to live with a muscle disease during the 2014 broadcast.
The complete list of family profiles includes:
•JoeJoe and Dominik Stoop, two energetic brothers, ages 5 and 3, respectively, from Los Angeles who are living with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
•Torrance Johnson, an outgoing and charismatic 8-year-old from Canton, Michigan, also affected by SMA.
•13-year-old football fanatic Kasey Bennett of Houston who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
•Kate Pecora, 15, a mature young lady from North Reading, Massachusetts, living with SMA and taking part in a promising new clinical trial.
•Eric Von Schaumburg, 31, from Chicago, who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with a "take no prisoners" attitude, and help from his loving family and girlfriend Lindsay.
MDA supporters are encouraged to visit mda.org/showofstrength to enhance their telethon viewing experience. On Sunday, Aug. 31, the site will have an online telethon toteboard keeping track of all donations associated with the televised fundraiser, including those made by national sponsors, direct marketing donors and through calls, texts and online donations made during the broadcast.
New this year, site visitors can submit their favorite MDA memories by sharing favorite stories and remembrances of how MDA and its telethon have touched their lives throughout the decades and years. The campaign is being tracked by the hashtag #MDAmemories and is being shared on MDA's Instagram page and on www.mda.org.
Additionally, visitors also can check out and share exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the telethon with celebrities and MDA families and sign on to be a "Muscle Maker" for $11 a month. MDA social channels include Facebook at facebook.com/MDANational, Twitter at twitter.com/MDAnews, Google+ at mda.org/plus, Instagram at instagram/mda_usa and Pinterest at pinterest/mdanational.
About MDA Show of Strength Telethon
MDA's first Labor Day weekend telethon was broadcast in 1966 on a single New York station and has become the most successful fundraising event in the history of television. The show, originally hosted by iconic star Jerry Lewis and with help from a legion of top celebrities and entertainers, has raised millions each year to provide life-enhancing support and services for the families MDA serves. The real stars on the broadcast have always been the MDA families who have graciously agreed to open their homes and hearts to America and tell their stories of strength. This year marks the 49th annual MDA telethon.
R.A. (RAC) Clark, longtime executive producer of the Academy of Country Music Awards, will return for a third consecutive year as MDA telethon executive producer.
In addition to funds contributed by the public, substantial support also comes from MDA's family of national sponsors, whose work throughout the year on behalf of MDA will be recognized on the telethon. Among the sponsors: International Association of Fire Fighters, CITGO Petroleum Corp., Lowe's, Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Jiffy Lube International, National Association of Letter Carriers, The Safeway Foundation, 7-Eleven, Dr Pepper Snapple Group/7UP, Acosta and Burger King.
Funds raised by MDA telethons also have contributed to the organization's worldwide research program. Today, through current clinical trials, there is growing excitement that new lifesaving treatments and discoveries are on the horizon for many of the disorders MDA is dedicated to defeating, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world's leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to saving and improving the lives of anyone with muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, ALS and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research to find treatments and cures; by providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide; and by rallying communities to fight back through advocacy, fundraising and local engagement. Visit mda.org and follow MDA at facebook.com/MDAnational and @MDAnews. Learn more about MDA's mission by watching this video.