ABC television stars will join forces this Labor Day weekend on the 49th MDA Show of Strength Telethon airing Sunday, Aug. 31, 9/8c on ABC television stations across the country to help raise funds and awareness to help save and improve the lives of children and adults affected by muscle disease.

Alyssa Milano at 2014 MDA Show Of Strength Telethon
Alyssa Milano at 2014 MDA Show Of Strength Telethon

Viewers tuning into the 2014 telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association will enjoy heart-felt appeals and introductions from some of the network’s leading stars, including Alyssa Milano of the hit drama series “Mistresses,” legendary “All My Children” star Susan Lucci, “Nashville” leading man Charles Esten, “Rising Star” co-mentors Brad Paisley, Ke$ha, Ludacris and show host Josh Groban, as well as Chris Powell of “Extreme Makeover,” “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron and “ABC News’” Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser.

“As a soon-to-be mother of two, supporting charities that help children in any way is something that is very important to me,” said Milano. “I came away with such a meaningful experience after meeting MDA families and learning about their courageous ‘stories of strength’ battling muscle disease. If my involvement with this year’s telethon can help raise funds and awareness for those affected, I’m happy to lend my support to help continue the progress in the fight for muscle health.”

Milano, who is due with her second child this fall, took her support for MDA behind-the-scenes at the Hollywood Palladium to meet with children affected by muscle disease, which included an exclusive interview with “blue” carpet correspondent 15-year-old MDA Ambassador Abbey Umali. Umali, of Redlands, Calif., is affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) which causes muscle weakness, lack of coordination and loss of sensation in the upper and lower extremities. Click here to see their interview and learn why Milano supports MDA.

Additionally, MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador Reagan Imhoff, 9, was also invited to a taping of the ABC’s new singing competition show “Rising Star” where she was able to work her charm on co-mentors Brad Paisley, Kesha, Ludacris and host Josh Groban. The musical artists met with Reagan backstage to learn about her role as an MDA spokesperson and how she’s helping MDA families, like her own, to fight back against muscle disease.

Stars of country music will also take part.

“As much fun as it was performing for this year’s MDA telethon, getting to meet with Bryson Foster who’s affected by muscular dystrophy was the real highlight of the whole experience for me and the guys,” said Rascal Flatts lead vocalist Gary LeVox. “We’re inspired by him and all that MDA does to help the families it serves, and we’re honored to be part of the progress that’s being made to end these life-threatening diseases.”

During the two-hour national broadcast, 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.

MDA Ambassador Bryson Foster, 14, of Concord, N.C., makes his third appearance on the national broadcast of the telethon when he introduces Rascal Flatts and Evans onstage for their respective performances. Bryson, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), also got exclusive interviews with the artists backstage on MDA’s blue carpet.

Performing her hit single “Give” during the nationally broadcast show, Grammy award-winning singer LeAnn Rimes took time out from promoting and filming her new VH1 reality show, “LeAnn & Eddie,” and her new remix album “Dance Like You Don’t Give a … Greatest Hits Remixes” (which was released earlier this August) to show her support for MDA at the Hollywood Palladium.

Rimes met backstage with MDA families onsite, which included an exclusive interview with “blue” carpet correspondent and 15-year-old MDA Ambassador Abbey Umali of Redlands, Calif. Umali is affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) which causes muscle weakness, lack of coordination and loss of sensation in the upper and lower extremities. Click here to see their exclusive interview and learn why LeAnn supports MDA.

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 Ke$ha, Ludacris and Josh Groban.

Additionally, the 2014 MDA telethon will feature a star-studded celebrity lineup, including: American Authors, Aloe Blacc, Jason Derulo, Fall Out Boy, Bret Michaels, Matt Nathanson and R5.

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