updated 08/31/2012 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 09/02/2012 AT 4:30 PM ET
The Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Show of Strength telethon will get an energetic kick-off.
Sunday’s three-hour program – featuring performances by Carrie Underwood, Pitbull, Gavin DeGraw, Carole King and a slew of other talent – will begin with will.i.am performing his dance tune, “This Is Love,” alongside vocalist Eva Simons and MDA Los Angeles Goodwill Ambassador, Lucas Cook.
“MDA has been helping children and adults for more than 50 years, and I am pleased to collaborate with them to help save lives,” the hip-hop artist, 37, tells PEOPLE.
“I am on a mission to transform the lives of young people who need extra support and really am honored to perform on the show – and it was important for me to include Lucas and other MDA kids in our performance.”
Setting the tone for the revamped annual telethon – previously hosted by Jerry Lewis, who was chairman of the MDA – the Black Eyed Peas singer will join the other guests on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET to entertain, educate and encourage viewers to donate to help those affected by the disease.
The show will air on various networks across the country and will live stream on the MDA website.