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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Kevin Jackson, Peter Silva, Greg Wind, Glenn Rossman, Michael Jannery

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Bret Michaels Rocks "Sweet Home Alabama" on MDA Show of Strength Telethon

Rocker donates $10,000 and promises 9-year-old ambassador a Harley ride

CHICAGO, Aug. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Viewers tuning into the 49th MDA Show of Strength Telethon are in for "Nothin' But a Good Time" when legendary rock star and reality TV star Bret Michaels covers American classic "Sweet Home Alabama" on the nationally televised show airing tonight on ABC television stations across the country.   

Rock legend Bret Michaels took his support behind-the-scenes at the 2014 MDA Show of Strength Telethon, airing tonight on ABC stations nationwide, to meet with families served by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Michaels pledged a $10,000 donation to MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador, 9-year old Reagan Imhoff on the blue carpet to help support MDA’s  mission to save and improve lives of children and adults affected by muscle disease.

In addition to his rockin' performance, Michaels took his support backstage during the show taping at the Hollywood Palladium to meet with families served by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which included an exclusive interview with blue carpet correspondent, and MDA's National Goodwill Ambassador, 9-year old Reagan Imhoff of New Berlin, Wis.

The charismatic third-grader left a big impression on Michaels, who was moved to pledge a $10,000 donation to Reagan on the blue carpet to help support MDA's mission to save and improve lives of children and adults affected by muscle disease.

Michaels, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, also let Reagan charm her way into nabbing a chance-of-a-lifetime motorcycle ride on one of his Harley-Davidson bikes at a later date. Click here to see the adorable blue carpet interview with Reagan and Bret.

"I was really excited when I got asked to participate in the telethon this year because I truly believe in the lifesaving work that MDA does to help kids affected by muscle disease," Michaels said. "I knew it was going to be a really special experience, but nothing prepared me for the moment I met Reagan. She reminded me of my youngest daughter and my heart melted as soon as she asked me to take her on a motorcycle ride. I would do anything to help these kids who fight courageously every day. I promised her a motorcycle ride and I can't wait to make good on that promise." 

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.

Michaels' relationship with MDA began last spring when he performed at the 27th annual Ride for Life in Bethlehem, Pa. and met with 14-year-old MDA Ambassador Bryson Foster. Bryson got the chance to interview the rock icon during a special meet-n-greet, which inspired Michaels to invite Bryson onstage for a special finale performance of classic hit "Nothin' but a Good Time" later that evening.

Michaels also made good on the #ALSIceBucketChallenge when Bryson, among many others, called out the rocker to take the challenge, which has raised millions for ALS research. Michaels took his challenge in a big way, from his record-breaking concert in Connecticut earlier this month. MDA has been fighting ALS for more than 60 years. The organization invests millions in research and services tied to ALS each year. See Bret's Ice Bucket Challenge here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKy_dLkZwfU.    

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.

The 2014 MDA telethon will feature a star-studded celebrity lineup with performances from Grammy® winners Rascal Flatts and LeAnn Rimes, plus Aloe Blacc, American Authors, Fall Out Boy, Jason Derulo, Matt Nathanson, R5 and Sara Evans.

Additional celebrity presenters on the telethon include: Tom Bergeron, ABC's Dr. Richard BesserJann Carl, Charles Esten, Terry Fator, Kevin Frazier, Josh Groban, Ludacris, Susan Lucci, Kesha, Alyssa Milano, Nancy O'Dell, 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 mda.org/showofstrength 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 mda.org and follow us at facebook.com/MDAnational and @MDAnews. Learn more about MDA's mission by watching this video.      

MDA Show Strength Telethon Logo

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140831/141734

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140820/138230

SOURCE Muscular Dystrophy Association

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