Champions for a cause: Mickie James & Nancy O'Dell

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August 18, 2009

In the latest, special SummerSlam edition of Superstar to Superstar, Divas Champion Mickie James talks to Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell, a champion against the fight of ALS. The television personality, who will take part in many of the SummerSlam festivities this weekend, recently started Betty's Battle with MDA in honor of her late mother. Read on to learn more about WWE's partnership with Betty's Battle and for more on O'Dell's upcoming SummerSlam weekend appearances. (Watch: Nancy O'Dell's message to the WWE Universe)

Also, watch Nancy O'Dell on FOXNews.com, check out her Tweets on Twitter.com/nancyodell. Read Access Hollywood's WWE-related Tweets on Twitter.com/accesshollywood, and check out Access Hollywood's coverage of Nancy O'Dell's SummerSlam appearances.

Mickie: Nancy, thank you for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it.

Nancy: Gosh, thank you, to WWE, for everything you guys are doing to raise awareness, and get people to know what we're doing. I appreciate it very much.

I'm very excited about Betty's Battle because it's a foundation MDA is forming in honor of my mom, whose name was Betty, who passed away from ALS -- Lou Gehrig's Disease -- in 2008.

The way I first became involved with MDA was actually when she was diagnosed out here at the UCLA clinic in Los Angeles, which was the MDA clinic. … After she got the diagnosis … a representative from MDA walked in and said, "I know you've just received a devastating diagnosis and I want you to know MDA will be here for you every step of the way." They were, literally, every step of the way. …

It's funny, when you're in the public eye, you want so much to help out with different charities, but can never know what takes place, and how they run and how much they're helping people, and when you go through it yourself, you realize why there's such a need for charities like this, because I, knowing a lot of people in Hollywood and the world I'm in, I didn't know where to go and what to do. Had they not been there for me and my family, we would have been completely lost. It's exciting to be forming the foundation with them.

Mickie: I bet. Personally, I'm not very familiar with the disease. There are lots of charities out there, and sometimes you don't know which ones are legit, or what they do, or why they do what they do. It's cool to have your story to make people more aware this is out there and that people are suffering from ALS, and especially for the families.

Nancy: It was … it was, as I say, absolutely, 100 percent, the toughest thing I ever had to go through because my mom and I were the bestest of friends. We used to talk on the phone every single day, until she lost her voice. She had the most wonderful, comforting Southern accent. She was such a Southern belle. She was the most wonderful mom you could ever ask for. …

Mickie: My mom is my best friend. She's been my biggest supporter through everything. Trying to make it in the wrestling industry, she was always one to stand by my side the whole time. Even when I felt like giving up, she was always inspiring me and telling me to never give up and keep fighting.

Nancy: That's the best feeling ever. I always say there's nothing better than knowing your parents have your back.

Mickie: Totally. And you don't appreciate that when you're young. You don't appreciate it as much, I think, as you do when you get older. You can take it for granted sometimes.

Nancy: Yes, you do. I always say, if I could be a quarter of the mom to my daughter, Ashby, that my mom was to me, then I'll still be an incredible mom. Because she was such a great mom. There was never a moment -- like you're talking about your mom being at all your matches and encouraging you -- there was never a moment in my life that I ever doubted my parents would be there for me. They were there for everything. I could turn to my mom for anything. We'd talk about everything. We had such a great relationship, which made it extra tough. But that's the reason I wanted to form the foundation, so hopefully something good can come out of it.

Mickie: If you could help one person, it makes it all worthwhile.

Nancy: I hope so. I hope other families won't have to go through this in the future, that's for sure. And thanks so much to WWE. You guys have been amazing. You mentioned it to me, when you knew I was going to be forming this foundation, WWE said, "Hey, what can we do to help?" And I know you guys have done a lot of things to help in the past. That's actually how I got to know WWE well. Jenny McCarthy (of Generation Rescue) came with John Cena to do an interview with Access Hollywood and was talking about autism. You guys helped with that. So I can't even tell you guys thank you enough for all you're doing to help with the launch of Betty's Battle and to help us fight this battle and put the SmackDown on ALS so hopefully other families won't have to go through this.

Mickie: I hope so, too. I think it's a beautiful thing you've done this, though, even though I'm sure it's tough for you. I think it's so beautiful. … So I'm going to be at the pre-SummerSlam Hollywood VIP party, as well!

Nancy: Yay!

Mickie: So I'll get to formally meet you, which will be cool.

Nancy: I'm very excited about that! That will be fun. I am so looking forward to the party and having all the wrestlers there and having WWE helping me with this fight. And I can't wait for SummerSlam! We are huge WWE fans in my household, particularly my 10-year-old stepson, Carson, who goes crazy. WWE is always running in our household.

Mickie: I heard you guys bonded over wrestling.

Nancy: We did! He thinks I'm cool now that I have a little in with WWE. … Meeting all the celebrities -- all the Tom Hanks and the Tom Cruises of the world -- he's like, "Ah, that's cool… but not as cool as WWE!" He thought that was very cool to meet the wrestlers, so thanks very much for that. We're looking forward to SummerSlam. I think it's going to be a blast.

Mickie: It's going to be great. Who's his favorite Superstar?

Nancy: Oh, well, John Cena's his hero.

Mickie: He's huge. I love him to death. He's awesome.

Nancy: I know.

Mickie: And you're doing the Q&A with him at SummerSlam Axxess, aren't you? That's kind of cool!

Nancy: I know. That will be fun. I interviewed him for Access Hollywood before, so it'll be a mini-reunion. But you are Carson's favorite Diva, though!

Mickie: Oh yay! Good! (laughs)

Nancy: (laughs) 

Mickie: Well thank you so much for coming out and being a part of SummerSlam. It is one of our biggest pay-per-views of the year. It's really cool we're doing it all in Hollywood and in L.A. It'll be fun, because you never know who's going to pop in.

Nancy: Oh yeah. You guys have a lot of wrestling fans. Like I've said, it's always on in my house.

Mickie, I just want to say thank you, so much, to the WWE Universe. I call you guys my friends now because you're helping me with one of the most important battles ever in my life, and hopefully a battle we can all help eradicate and win for all the other families out there who are fighting for ALS, who don't know it might possibly be in their futures. So, for that, you guys are all my World Heavyweight Champions.

Mickie: Nancy, thank you so much for your time. Thanks so much for talking to me for WWE.com. I am very sorry you lost your mother in such a tragic and horrible way. But I think it's so wonderful that you've used that to strengthen yourself and to make more people aware of what's going on. It's such a tough, tough thing, and I think you are such a strong woman for it, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for you for it.

Nancy: That means a lot. I appreciate it. Thanks for everything you guys are doing.

For more information on Betty's Battle, visit bettysbattle.org. Visit Nancy O'Dell's Twitter page: twitter.com/nancyodell. For more on Access Hollywood, visit the show's Twitter page: twitter.com/accesshollywood and official Web site: accesshollywood.com. Watch Nancy O'Dell on FOXNews.com. Nancy O'Dell will interview John Cena at SummerSlam Axxess during the Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. session. Click here for more information on SummerSlam Axxess.

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