Pete Wentz and Wisconsin Girl, 9, to Open MDA Telethon, Sunday on ABC

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MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador Reagan Imhoff and Fall Out Boy’s Bassist kick off the MDA Show of Strength for people fighting muscle disease.

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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, on Sunday, Aug. 31, 9/8c, on ABC.

'Reagan is a total sweetheart whose positive attitude immediately captures the attention of everyone she meets,' Wentz said.

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 this Labor Day weekend, Sunday, Aug. 31, 9/8c, on ABC television stations across the country.
(Click here to meet Reagan.)

Wentz will join Reagan, 9, on the telethon stage after a Fall Out Boy performance of their new single “Young Volcanoes,” at the top of the 2014 telethon.

“Reagan is a total sweetheart whose positive attitude immediately captures the attention of everyone she meets,” Wentz said. "Being able to give back to an organization that's making a difference like MDA has taken on a much deeper meaning for me since having kids. All the members of Fall Out Boy are honored to be part of this telethon as a band to help save and improve lives for all MDA families.”    

Wentz and Reagan will chat about the many adventures she’s had during her first year as MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador, while viewing never before seen clips from a special meet and greet on the set of ABC’s show “Rising Star,” where Reagan had the opportunity to work her charm on the show’s co-mentors Brad Paisley, Kesha, Ludacris and Josh Groban.

During the telethon broadcast, Reagan also will introduce Grammy® winner LeAnn Rimes with help from ABC’s “Mistresses” star Alyssa Milano. The charismatic third-grader also served as an MDA blue carpet correspondent, nabbing exclusive interviews with some of the show’s biggest talent backstage during the show taping at the Hollywood Palladium. (Check out her interviews with Bret Michaels and R5.)

Reagan is no stranger to the spotlight. This is her third consecutive telethon appearance. In 2012, Reagan lived out her dream when she starred in a moving dance performance, done from her power wheelchair, on the telethon. Last year, pop icon Paula Abdul surprised Reagan with her first pair of ballet pointe shoes after a performance of “I Hope You Dance” by country star Lee Ann Womack — a special highlight of the 2013 telethon.

Now, as part of her role as MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador, Reagan travels throughout the country (along with parents, Jenny and Joe) speaking to groups about MDA’s mission to save and improve the lives of families like hers affected by muscle disease. Reagan has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement.

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, with its iconic host 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.

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.

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.

At the community level, MDA is planning telethon viewing parties with hundreds of local groups to rally support for the more than 1 million Americans it helps with lifesaving medical and support services.

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 (DMD), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Visit to learn more about the 2014 MDA telethon.

About MDA

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to saving and improving the lives of people with muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (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 and follow us at and @MDAnews. Learn more about MDA's mission by watching this video.

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Roxan Olivas
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