Kyle, Amit, Nathan and I at MDA Summer Camp 2009

Left to Right: Kyle, Amit, Nathan and I at MDA Summer Camp 2009

Since I was a little boy, I’ve been watching the MDA Labor Day Telethon, and I’d often been stirred by the strength and preserverance of the folks stricken with these debilitating diseases. A few years ago, when I met my girlfriend Ali, a long-time volunteer with the MDA, she brought me closer to the fold, and I’ve not only volunteered when I could, but I’ve met so many amazing people and families, I haven’t the words to express how important today is. So here is the press release. Check it out, tune in and if it all possible, give what you can. Thanks.

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Six more artists today expressed one theme when it comes the 46th annual MDA Labor Day Telethon – tune in.

You don’t want to miss a minute or a moment.

The 2011 MDA Telethon will feature some of the biggest names in show business during six primetime hours.  Broadcast by more than 150 television stations and streamed worldwide on the Web at, the show is expected to be watched by tens of millions between 6:00 p.m. and midnight in every U.S. time zone on Sunday, Sept. 4.

“The MDA Telethon is such a huge part of America’s Labor Day activities and has been for so many years,” said Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott.  “We hope our fans tune in and support this important cause.”

Grammy-nominated platinum recording artist Jordin Sparks expanded on the thought, saying, “In my family, giving back has always been instilled in my brother and I.  That’s why I am honored to be a part of the MDA Labor Day Telethon, and to ask my wonderful fans to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  MDA provides unparalleled medical services to families across America, and its summer camps for children with muscle diseases are absolutely extraordinary.”

With its new primetime format offering so many performance and production advantages, as well as the greatest potential for reaching the largest possible audience, the star-studded Telethon originating from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas will offer a rich assortment of Billboard chart toppers, exceptional production numbers, and three young American bands that just won the ultimate talent competition, prevailing over more than 7,800 artists in the “Get Discovered!” talent search.

“Act after act, this year’s Telethon is jammed-packed with top talent,” said MDA Labor Day Telethon Producer Lee Miller.  “We’re deeply indebted to the generous entertainers giving America and the families we serve such extraordinary performances and appeals.  In my 20 years of producing this landmark program, we’ve never had so much star power compressed into just six hours.”

For six hours the national audience will be engaged, enthused and entertained as Boyz II Men, Celine Dion, Darius Rucker, Richie Sambora, Tommy Emmanuel, Jon Secada and many others will perform on the show.

“This Sunday, I’ll be performing a new and very special song for the first time on the MDA Labor Day Telethon, and I encourage everyone to tune in,” said Secada. “Meet just one child with a neuromuscular disease.  I know you’ll want to join me in doing whatever you can to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s search for a cure.”

Inspiring and motivating, the MDA Labor Day Telethon also will present its hallmark patient profiles, worldwide research updates, and spotlight the unrivaled MDA clinic network that’s achieved significant quality of life and longevity gains – all thanks to public support of MDA special events including the iconic Telethon.

“As a mom with three wonderful daughters, I am so grateful for our many blessings,” said country artist Martina McBride, who will perform on the Telethon. “My being part of the Telethon is important to me because every mother and every child deserve to share the brightest possible futures.  Happily, thanks to generous public support, MDA is making real progress in the fight against muscular dystrophy.  If you tune in Sunday, I know you’ll be inspired to help MDA do even more.”

Billy Ray Cyrus is confident it will happen.  “Americans always dig a little deeper for friends and neighbors in need,” said Cyrus, who will perform his new single on the Telethon. “I am excited to be performing on the MDA Labor Day Telethon this year and asking my great fans to join me.  Let’s rock the house together this Sunday night, to make a difference in the fight against muscle diseases.”

Abbey Umali, the 12-year-old dynamo who serves as MDA National Goodwill Ambassador, just arrived in Las Vegas to help motivate the legions of MDA staffers, and production executives working around the clock to finalize the set and a myriad of other show logistics prior to Saturday rehearsals and the show going live on Sunday.  Brimming with enthusiasm, the smiling girl from Redlands, Calif. also is using her pre-show time for a final push on “Abbey’s Read-a-Thon 2011” for which she’s already read and reported on 65 books.  Her personal fund-raising goal is to surpass the more than $20,000 she achieved for the 2010 Telethon.  To download a high-resolution picture of Abbey in the Telethon production office, click here.

“I’m excited for everyone to hear and see the special duet version of ‘Come Back Song’ featuring Miss Abbey Umali, MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador,” said country singer/songwriter Darius Rucker.  “Abbey has musical talents well beyond her years, and I hope her performance inspires you to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association fight progressive muscle diseases.  For me, I’m just happy to help so many deserving kids like Abbey.”

While it’s not uncommon for megastars to be added to the Telethon lineup even moments before the show, here’s an alphabetical list of the talent that’s now confirmed for first in the new era of primetime MDA Labor Day Telethons:  Max Adler; Brandon Barash; Joy Behar; Boyz II Men; Brokedown Cadillac (Get Discovered); Reggie Bush; Jann Carl; Greyson Chance; Clark County Children’s Choir; Nadia Comaneci; Billy Ray Cyrus; Celine Dion; Come Fly Away; Bart Conner; Tommy Emmanuel; Nick Florez; Michael Feinstein; Whoopi Goldberg; Elisabeth Hasselbeck; Dwight Howard; IL Volo; JabbawockeeZ; Randy Jackson; Jay Johnson; Lady Antebellum; Jennifer Lopez; Nigel Lythgoe; Martina McBride; Maureen McGovern; Dan Nainan; Nancy O’Dell; One Step Away (Get Discovered); Shawn Parr; Penn & Teller; Port Chuck; Smokey Robinson; Rootdown (Get Discovered); Darius Rucker; Richie Sambora; Jon Secada; Sherri Shepherd; Jordin Sparks; Alison Sweeney; Steven Tyler; Universal Cheerleaders; Voca People; Barbara Walters; Kurt Warner; Jimmy Webb; and Ace Young.

About MDA

MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research.  The Association also provides comprehensive healthcare and support services, advocacy and education.  See the award-winning MDA “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference ®” PSA, as well as MDA VNR announcing Monday’s launch of a 24-week Phase 2 clinical trial of a potential therapeutic for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

In addition to funding more than 300 research projects worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics; orchestrates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; facilitates extraordinary local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters fighting progressive muscle diseases.  Known globally for the MDA Labor Day Telethon, the Association is the first nonprofit organization to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association “for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity.”

©2011 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.

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