TUCSON, Ariz. — Attorney and disability rights activist Aaron Bates, of Orlando, Fla., will be featured in an inspiring profile on the newly formatted national broadcast of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon.
For the first time ever, the 46th annual MDA Labor Day Telethon will be shown entirely in prime time on a single evening, Sunday, Sept. 4. Broadcast from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, it will air from 6 p.m. to midnight in every time zone.
In the Orlando area, the Telethon will be seen on WKCF, Channel 18.
About Aaron Bates
Bates, 31, is affected by spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease that causes widespread weakness and atrophy of voluntary muscles. He uses a power chair for mobility.
Bates is currently an attorney with the Maher Law Firm, P.A. and serves on a number of local and national disability advisory boards. Most recently, he helped pass what is now known as the James Patrick Memorial Work Incentive Personal Assistant Services, a Florida state law making it easier for employed people with disabilities to hire personal care attendants.
Bates also is a member of MDA’s National Task Force on Public Awareness, a volunteer advisory board composed of individuals with muscle diseases who are leaders in their communities and achievers in their professional fields.
As a member of the task force, Bates often speaks to MDA sponsor organizations and others about SMA, and what people can do to help defeat it and the more than 40 other progressive neuromuscular disease in MDA’s program. Bates has a younger sister who also is affected by SMA.
About the MDA Labor Day Telethon
An outstanding lineup of top stars is set to appear on the Telethon this year, including Celine Dion, Lady Antebellum, Jennifer Lopez, Darius Rucker and Jordin Sparks. In addition to the entertainment, the Telethon also will feature profiles of individuals and families affected by neuromuscular diseases, important and groundbreaking research updates, and presentations by MDA’s national sponsors.
Co-hosting the six-hour broadcast will be Nigel Lythgoe (“American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance”), Nancy O’Dell (“Entertainment Tonight”), Alison Sweeney (“The Biggest Loser” and author of The Mommy Diet) and television producer Jann Carl.
Approximately 150 "Love Network” stations will carry the Telethon from coast to coast, and it will be seen around the world via live streaming at mda.org.
This year’s Telethon will feature special behind-the-scenes segments from the show on the Association’s website mda.org, and social sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. “Telethon Extras” will provide visitors with insight on living with a neuromuscular disease, information on current research, and interviews with celebrities, sponsors and MDA families from backstage during the Telethon.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
MDA maintains clinics for area adults and children with muscle diseases at Orlando Regional Lucerne Hospital.