CHICAGO, July 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Muscular Dystrophy Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) are heating up efforts this summer to find urgently needed treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and muscle-debilitating diseases that severely limit strength and mobility during the 62nd annual Fill the Boot fundraising campaign.
MDA's iconic Fill the Boot campaign is an honored tradition in which thousands of dedicated fire fighters in hometowns across America hit the streets or storefronts asking pedestrians, motorists, customers and other passersby to make a donation to MDA, using their collective strength to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger. (Click here to download broadcast quality Fill the Boot B-Roll).
"The IAFF is honored to continue more than 60 years of partnership with MDA to help further our shared mission to free individuals from the harmful effects of these life-threatening diseases," said IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger. "Today, we're inspired to see more and more MDA families overcoming challenges and living life to the fullest. We are proud to be part of this progress and will continue to fight alongside MDA until a cure is found."
On June 20, MDA launched a new six-week summer campaign called Live Unlimited, inspired by individuals and families who are overcoming limitations and challenges every day. The essence of the Live Unlimited campaign is to start a conversation that shifts the focus away from one's limitations to the power of possibilities. This idea is embodied by the IAFF and fire fighters nationwide, whose unwavering support continues to strengthen and support MDA research and programs for MDA families.
"Each year, thousands of selfless fire fighters across America collect donations - one dollar at a time - in their boots to help provide kids and adults with life-enhancing resources and support," said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. "To live unlimited means to redefine what you thought was possible and live life to your fullest potential. With help from the IAFF, we are able to help turn 'cant's' in to 'cans' for the individuals we serve and we look forward to making more of these moments possible this Fill the Boot season, and for years to come."
Nearly 580 Fill the Boot drives are set to take place across the United States by the end of July. MDA's largest Fill the Boot drive consisted of 1,900 fire fighters from Dallas Fire–Rescue, including members from IAFF Local 58, who helped raise $519,000 to support local families with neuromuscular diseases.
As MDA's largest national partner, the IAFF has raised more than $583 million since 1954 to help fund the best and brightest scientists working to find research breakthroughs across diseases and uncover treatments and cures. In 2015, more than 100,000 fire fighters participated in Fill the Boot events across the country and raised $25.5 million.
In addition to Fill the Boot drives, fire fighter contributions from year-round local events, include softball and golf tournaments, fundraising through marathons with MDA's Team Momentum, joining MDA Muscle Walks, volunteering at MDA summer camp and more.
Contributions help provide care and services, including state-of-the-art multidisciplinary care at a nationwide network of more than 150 MDA Care Centers, including 43 specialized MDA ALS Care Centers, as well as support groups and medical assistance. They also help send thousands of kids to "the best week of the year" at MDA Summer Camp at no cost to their families.
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 MDA 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.