CHICAGO, Sept. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of more than 700 local fire departments across the country, led by the International Association of Fire Fighters, are set to kick off the busiest Fill the Boot fundraising weekend of the year. Their goal is to raise $5.6 million this Labor Day weekend to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association find urgently needed treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases that severely limit strength and mobility.
For 62 years, fire fighters have been fanning out across hundreds of cities with boots in hand for MDA's iconic Fill the Boot campaign, an honored tradition in which thousands of dedicated fire fighters in hometowns across America hit the streets or storefronts asking pedestrians, motorists and consumers to make a donation to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger. (Click here to download broadcast quality Fill the Boot B-Roll).
"Thanks to the fire fighters – one boot at a time and one generous donor at a time – we are on the brink of life-changing progress and breakthroughs that can't come soon enough for MDA families," said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. "I want to express my deepest gratitude for the unwavering generosity of the IAFF in support of our mission. So if you see a fire fighter collecting this weekend, we'd be very grateful if you'd donate."
Spurred in large part by Fill the Boot donations, MDA yesterday announced the award of 25 new research, development and research infrastructure grants totaling nearly $7 million and targeted to make an impact on life-threatening neuromuscular diseases in its program.
Contributions also help provide care for kids and adults at a nationwide network of more than 150 multidisciplinary MDA Care Centers, including 43 specialized MDA ALS Care Centers. The funds also provide individuals with services and support in hometowns across America, including sending nearly 4,000 kids with muscular dystrophy to "the best week of the year" at MDA Summer Camp in 2016.
IAFF support for MDA began in 1954 when the organization committed by proclamation to support MDA until a cure is found, and the organization's unwavering commitment to MDA has remained steadfast to this day. The IAFF raised $100,000 for MDA in 1955, and $1 million in 1970, and fire fighters continue to raise the bar in their fundraising efforts. In 2015, more than 100,000 fire fighters participated in Fill the Boot events across the country and raised $25.5 million. To date the IAFF has raised $583 million for MDA.
About the IAFF
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 in Canada.
About the Muscular Dystrophy Association
MDA is leading the fight to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. We use our collective strength to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger by finding research breakthroughs across diseases; caring for individuals from day one; and empowering families with services and support in hometowns across America. Learn how you can fund cures, find care and champion the cause at mda.org.
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SOURCE Muscular Dystrophy Association