TUCSON, Ariz. — Vivacious and talented Abbey Umali, a 12-year-old from Redlands, Calif., will appear 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 Redlands area, the Telethon will be seen on KCAL, Channel 9.
About Abbey Umali
Umali, currently serving an unprecedented fourth term as MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador, has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) and walks with the aid of leg braces. CMT is a neuromuscular disorder that causes nerve damage and loss of sensation, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy. CMT is one of the more than 40 muscle diseases in MDA’s program.
As National Goodwill Ambassador, Umali and her parents, Joel and Wendi, have traveled the country in support of the Association’s mission to find cures and treatments for her disease and other neuromuscular disorders.
On the Telethon, Umali will perform a duet with award-winning country artist Darius Rucker. She’ll also present a check to MDA from her “Read-a-Thon.” This is the third year in a row that Abbey has read books to raise money for MDA. In 2010, she read more than 50 books (of at least 100 pages each) and collected more than $20,500 for the Association’s vital programs and services. She has big plans to top that total this year and the money she raises will be earmarked for research into CMT and ALS, the latter of which affects her good friend Augie Nieto, co-chair of MDA’s ALS Division.
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 Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey and Loma Linda University Pediatric Neuroscience Center in San Bernardino.