CHICAGO, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Muscular Dystrophy Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) are set to kick off another summer season of the fire fighters' spirited Fill the Boot campaign. Throughout 2014, the two organizations are celebrating 60 years of a partnership committed to saving and improving the lives of more than one million Americans fighting muscle disease.
"Fill the Boot is an honored tradition for both organizations, and it's so fulfilling to know that the work our fire fighters do out there in the streets is helping take care of our MDA family," said IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger. "For six decades, MDA and the IAFF have fought together against muscle diseases that threaten the lives of infants, children and adults, and it's those children, those families, that inspire our members and remind us what an important task we're charged with. Millions of dollars are raised each year through Fill the Boot campaigns and we know that money is making a difference and getting us closer to treatments and cures."
Thousands of Fill the Boot drives have taken place or will take place across the United States this year, in which fire fighters hit the streets or store fronts and ask pedestrians, motorists, customers and other passers-by to contribute — money in the boot — for MDA.
"For six decades, the IAFF has fueled MDA's mission to assist families with lifesaving help by funding research to find treatments and cures and by rallying communities to fight back," said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. "Fire fighters are a significant part of MDA's story of progress and do more for those we serve than any other group. They spend countless hours every year giving back to their communities, and we're grateful for the support of these inspiring, selfless individuals who have made a profound impact on our families' health, wellbeing and quality of life."
In addition to Fill the Boot drives, fire fighters also dedicate time every year at MDA summer camp, where thousands of children with muscle disease experience a week of barrier-free fun while gaining confidence and independence.
The IAFF is a major contributing sponsor of the MDA Show of Strength Telethon, and IAFF contributions from charity baseball games and other local events help support MDA's efforts to raise awareness and provide professional and public education about muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
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 strong 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 2013, more than 100,000 fire fighters participated in Fill the Boot events across the country and raised $26.2 million. To date the IAFF has raised $530 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.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world's leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to saving and improving the lives of anyone with muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research to find treatments and cures; by providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide; and by rallying communities to fight back through advocacy, fundraising and local engagement. Visit mda.org and follow us at facebook.com/MDAnational and @MDAnews. Learn more about MDA's mission by watching this video.
SOURCE Muscular Dystrophy Association