By MARY RAINWATER
Palestine fire fighters took to the streets recently to “Fill the Boot” for the Muscular Dystrophy Association on May 28-30, raising more than $6,500 to help find treatments and cures for neuromuscular disease.
Members of Local 3493 of the International Association of Fire Fighters fulfilled their annual fundraising pledge to support MDA’s vital research programs and the Association’s 200 medical clinics nationwide.
“We deeply appreciate the work fire fighters in Palestine do for MDA,” MDA Area Director Tiffany Bratcher said. “It does make a difference to all the people and families here who are living with muscle disease.
“They see these American heroes going out to support them, and it tells them they have strong partners standing by their side.”
Fire fighters, who put their lives on the line every day battling blazes or rushing through traffic to help someone who has been badly injured, are known to have a sense of compassion for and service to the community that is demonstrated through their commitment to MDA.
“We like to help people, that’s who we are,” Palestine Fire fighter and MDA Fill the Boot Coordinator Roy Patterson said. “We know it’s a good thing to be in the fight against the muscle diseases that cause so much pain and suffering.
“We are part of a decades-old tradition to beat these diseases, and we’re not going to quit until the battle is won.”
IAFF became the first national sponsor for MDA in 1954, and over the years, firefighters have raised millions of dollars to help improve and enhance the lives of those living with neuromuscular disease.
Firefighters have raised money for MDA through their participation in the annual Fill the Boot campaign, as well as by sponsoring golf and softball tournaments. Many also contribute some of their vacation time each year to volunteer at MDA summer camps across the country.
Funds from the Fill the Boot campaign also help send 3,500 kids to MDA summer camp for a free week of lighthearted fun with other kids who are just like them. Many fire fighters become friends of the kids and their families, volunteering a week of their vacation time each year to go to camp and support their young friends.
The International Association of Fire Fighters represents more than 300,000 professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 85 percent of the nation’s population. More than 3,200 affiliates and their members protect communities in every state in the United States and Canada.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for 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 support groups for families affected by neuromuscular disease; and provides free local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters fighting progressive muscle disease. For more information, visit mda.org.
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Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org