Entertainment, inspiration and information in an exciting new format
Kicked off with the electrifying song “This Is Love” by Grammy-winning artist will.i.am, the all-new MDA SHOW of STRENGTH presented three hours of prime-time entertainment while raising awareness of MDA’s research and services missions, its sponsors and the people it serves. The show, which aired Sunday Sept. 2 and featured local segments produced by MDA’s “Love Network” stations, redefined the tradition of MDA’s Labor Day Telethon with a faster pace and performances targeted to engage show viewers in MDA’s cause.
|Multiple Grammy-winning artist will.i.am with singer/songwriter Eva Simons and MDA Goodwill Ambassador Lucas Cook|
The show presented a variety of musical styles, from country music sensation Carrie Underwood to rap artist Pitbull, who ended his performance by emotionally informing MDA’s 12-year-old National Goodwill Ambassador Bryson Foster, “We need you guys more than you need us. You’re the ones that are strong.”
Performers included B.o.B, Brandy, Hot Chelle Rae, OneRepublic, All-American Rejects, Gavin DeGraw, Karmin, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Luke Bryan, Eva Simons, Silhouettes and Alanis Morissette. Also appearing were Nancy O’Dell, Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney, Ryan Seacrest, WWE Champion The Miz, Paula Abdul, Khloé Kardashian Odom, Max Adler, Lou Ferrigno, Ace Young, Diana DeGarmo, Jesse McCartney, and Benji and Joel Madden. “You’ve Got a Friend,” performed by legendary singer-songwriter Carole King and accompanied by images of MDA families, provided the emotional, inspirational finale.
Individuals and families affected by neuromuscular diseases — such as Bryson Foster (who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy) — were the real stars of the show and were introduced in profile segments. In addition to Bryson, the show featured 14-year-old Latondra Chappell, who has central core disease; 17-year-old Kennedy Healy, who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA); 7-year-old Reagan Imhoff, also affected by SMA; and 12-year-old Justin Moy, a science enthusiast with congenital muscular dystrophy who says he wants to “become a biochemist and find a cure for muscular dystrophy.”
Featured adults included Veronica Niño and Shaun Probert, both of whom have ALS, and Angela Wrigglesworth, a teacher with SMA, who shared that MDA camp helped her “to become an independent woman.” Also appearing were MDA spokespeople Augie and Lynne Nieto, Luke Christie, Abbey Umali, Kelly Mahoney, Benjamin Cumbo, Mandy Beckham (formerly Mandy Van Benthuysen) and Lucas Cook.
Special acknowledgment was made of the crucial support provided by MDA national sponsors including Acosta, Burger King, CITGO Petroleum Corp., Harley-Davidson, International Association of Fire Fighters, Jiffy Lube International, Lowe’s, National Association of Letter Carriers, Safeway, 7-Eleven and 7UP.
“We’re truly grateful to members of the public who responded to our SHOW of STRENGTH with generous contributions made by phoning, texting or giving online,” said MDA Interim President and Medical Director Valerie Cwik, M.D. “We hope people will visit the MDA website to view performances they may have missed and other content, including exclusive performances that did not air on the Sept. 2 broadcast. And it’s never too late to give!”
|Announcer Shawn Parr with co-host and MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Bryson Foster||Amy Heidemann of the pop duo Karmin|
|Luke Christie and Ben Cumbo||Pop/rock band Hot Chelle Rae||Glee’s Max Adler and Abbey Umali|
|Rapper Pitbull||Wisconsin MDA Goodwill Ambassador Reagan Imhoff with professional dancers||Singer/songwriter