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Country stars join 49th annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon

Photo: Image by Getty Images for Grand Ole Opry

Country stars join 49th annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Aug 27, 2014

A handful of country artists -- Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Sara Evans and LeAnn Rimes -- are joining together to support the 49th annual MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) Show of Strength Telethon airing on Aug. 31 at 9/8c on ABC.

Opry members Rascal Flatts ("My Wish") and RCA recording artist Sara Evans ("A Little Bit Stronger") will be featured performing those songs from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry stage. 

"MDA’s telethon gives us a chance to celebrate the compassionate support of our celebrity friends, sponsors and individuals in communities across the country who give generously to help save and improve lives of those fighting muscle disease,” MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks said in a statement. ”With clinical trials of potential new therapies underway, this is a time of hope and progress for the children and adults we serve. We urge families and friends to gather together on Aug. 31 to watch, whether via broadcast or online, and see the fantastic performers and inspiring stories of those who are fighting muscle disease with grace and courage.”

Besides hitmakers like R&B artist Jason Derulo and punk rockers Fall Out Boy offering viewers one-of-a-kind performances, there's also a star-studded list of celebrity presenters -- including Chip Esten ("Deacon Claybourne") from ABC's "Nashville."

"MDA supporters are encouraged to visit [the event's webpage] to enhance their telethon viewing experience," an event release explains. "On Sunday, Aug. 31, the site will have an online telethon tote board keeping track of all donations associated with the televised fundraiser, including those made by national sponsors, direct marketing donors and through calls, texts and online donations made during the broadcast."

"New this year, site visitors can submit their favorite MDA memories by sharing favorite stories and remembrances of how MDA and its telethon have touched their lives throughout the decades and years," the event release further details. "The campaign is being tracked by the hashtag #MDAmemories and is being shared on MDA’s Instagram page and on mda.org."

Longtime executive producer of the Academy of Country Music Awards, R.A. (RAC) Clark, will return as the MDA telethon executive producer for the third consecutive year.

Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Julianne Cassidy is a newly Nashville-based entertainment journalist from Philadelphia.