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It's MDA Telethon time – with a little social media help

It's Labor Day weekend so it's time for the stars to come out in support of Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). The 49th broadcast of the television fundraising event will air for 2 hours in primetime on ABC, Sunday, Aug. 31 (9 p.m. ET /PT, 8 p.m. CT/MT).

Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz will open the 49th MDA Show of Strength Telethon alongside MDA's 2014 National Goodwill Ambassador Reagan Imhoff, 9, this Labor Day weekend, Sunday, Aug. 31, 9/8c, on ABC.
Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz will open the 49th MDA Show of Strength Telethon alongside MDA's 2014 National Goodwill Ambassador Reagan Imhoff, 9, this Labor Day weekend, Sunday, Aug. 31, 9/8c, on ABC.MDA

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.

2014 Telethon Performances include: American Authors, Aloe Blacc, Jason Derulo, Sara Evans, Fall Out Boy, Bret Michaels, Matt Nathanson, R5, Rascal Flatts and LeAnn Rimes.
Introductions or Appeals from: Laila Ali,Tom Bergeron, ABC's Dr. Richard Besser, Charles Esten, Terry Fator, Kevin Frazier, Josh Groban, Ludacris, Susan Lucci, Kesha, Alyssa Milano, Nancy O'Dell, Victor Ortiz, Brad Paisley, Chris Powell, Jordin Sparks and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association's 2014 National Goodwill Ambassador Reagan Imhoff of New Berlin, Wis., is set to open the 49th MDA Show of Strength Telethon alongside Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz. Wentz will join Reagan, 9, on the telethon stage after a Fall Out Boy performance of their new single "Young Volcanoes."

Country music trio Rascal Flatts will perform their popular hit "My Wish," and award-winning musician Sara Evans will sing her hit single "A Little Bit Stronger." Both performances were taped from the iconic Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Grammy award-winning singer LeAnn Rimes will be singing her hit single "Give" during the nationally broadcast show.

Country superstar Brad Paisley also will make a special appeal on behalf of families served by MDA while giving an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek at a taping of ABC's "Rising Star," a competition show that features Paisley in a mentoring role along with Kesha, Ludacris and Josh Groban.

The real stars of the telehon are the families supported by MDA. 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, Mich., also affected by SMA;

  • 13-year-old football fanatic Kasey Bennett of Houston who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD);

  • Kate Pecora, 15, a mature young lady from North Reading, Mass., living with SMA and taking part in a promising new clinical trial; and

  • 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.

Social Media

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 tote board 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. Also, there is the Telethon Star Tracker. Provide your contact information, select your favorite artists and we'll text you a reminder before they appear on the Telethon.

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 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.

UPDATE

As of 11 p.m. Pacific Time Sunday MDA had received $52.3 million in donations. The final total will be announced on Tuesday, Sept. 2.