TUCSON, Ariz. — Two Houston-area women will be featured on the national broadcast of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Labor Day weekend entertainment special MDA SHOW of STRENGTH, airing Sunday, Sept. 2.
Angela Wrigglesworth, 35, and Veronica Niño, 45, will have their “stories of strength” told on the three-hour prime-time special set to air on 150 “Love Network” stations across the country. KPRC-TV, NBC Channel 2, will broadcast the show in the Houston area.
Wrigglesworth is a fourth-grade teacher at Klenk Elementary in Houston and a passionate advocate for MDA. She is on MDA’s National Task Force on Public Awareness and served on MDA’s Transition Summit panel in 2011. At 16 months, she was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a progressive motor neuron disease that causes weakness in the arms, legs and torso. Wrigglesworth uses a power wheelchair for mobility.
“I live independently, I work and have my own home — all of that is because of MDA,” Wrigglesworth said. “I deeply credit MDA for helping me become the strong, independent woman I am today.”
In her profile, Wrigglesworth is seen dancing in her power chair and having fun with a group of friends. Dancing is one of her passions. “I absolutely love dancing, and I feel I’m pretty good,” she said. “I have rhythm in these wheels.”
Veronica Niño, from Friendswood, Texas, is a mother of three children and an assistant principal at Southmore Intermediate School in the Pasadena Independent School District. Niño, who uses a power wheelchair, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), which attacks the nerve cells that control muscles, ultimately resulting in paralysis of all voluntary muscles, including those used for breathing. Average life expectancy for people with the disease is three to five years after diagnosis.
“My passion is to give kids the knowledge they need to be successful,” said Niño, who is a great public speaker and a strong advocate for MDA. “The biggest challenge with having ALS is the uncertainty. ”
The most important part of Niño’s life is her family — husband Chris and their children Marisa, Daniel and Esteban.
“My No. 1 purpose is to be the best person I can be, the best wife I can be for my husband and best mom I can be for my kids,” Niño said.
“Angela Wrigglesworth and Veronica Niño are gifted, accomplished women who succeed at having a positive impact on the world around them, even while dealing with the progressive effects of their diseases,” said MDA Interim President and Medical Director Valerie Cwik, M.D. “MDA SHOW of STRENGTH strives to showcase the important contributions made by wonderful individuals like Angela and Veronica, while also furthering MDA’s urgent quest to develop effective therapies for the spinal muscular atrophies, ALS and related disorders.”
‘Stories of Strength’
The MDA SHOW of STRENGTH will feature six “stories of strength” told from the individuals’ and families’ perspectives.
In addition to Niño and Wrigglesworth, the other profiles are: Kennedy Healy, 17, of Omaha, Neb.; Latondra Chappell, 14, of Charlotte, N.C.; MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Bryson Foster, 12, of Concord, N.C.; and Justin Moy, 12, of Concord, Mass.
ABOUT MDA SHOW of STRENGTH
MDA SHOW of STRENGTH continues MDA’s Labor Day weekend tradition in a three-hour prime-time broadcast special airing on Sunday, Sept. 2, 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT. The show will include entertaining performances, celebrity appearances and inspirational “stories of strength” about families affected by muscular dystrophy and related diseases.
Among the celebrities and entertainers scheduled to appear are: Carrie Underwood, Pitbull, will.i.am featuring Eva Simons, Carole King, Paula Abdul, All-American Rejects, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, B.o.B, Brandy, Luke Bryan, Gavin DeGraw, Hot Chelle Rae, Karmin, Tim McGraw, Alanis Morissette, Khloé Kardashian Odom, OneRepublic and more.
In addition to being broadcast on 150 “Love Network” stations across the country, the show will be streamed on mda.org.
For information on the rich history of the telethon, visit mda.org/about/telethon-history.
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.
In addition to funding some 300 research teams worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of 200 medical clinics; facilitates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; and provides local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters fighting progressive muscle diseases.