ABILENE, Texas (News Release) – Members of the Abilene, Abilene Regional Airport and Dyess Fire Departments are once again teaming up with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for the annual Fill-the-Boot Campaign. Firefighters will be at both Walmarts starting Thursday, May 9, Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. collecting donations.
Firefighters have stood with MDA in the fight against muscle disease since 1954. The funds raised during the three day campaign go toward MDA’s summer camp for children, research initiatives, local clinics and support groups in our area. Every dollar raised will go directly to children and adults in the Abilene and Big Country area that are affected by neuromuscular diseases. Many children who attend MDA’s camps look forward to this one week all year long. This is a time when these children are able to enjoy and participate in activities that are rarely available to them at any other time. Activities are modified to ensure all campers are able to participate. Camp helps break down barriers and encourage children to make life long connections with other children who face the same daily obstacles as each other. Summer Camp would not be possible if it were not for fundraising events like Fill the Boot.
For firefighters, Fill the Boot is a chance to help children, and adults living with neuromuscular diseases but it also gives them a chance to positively interact with Abilene residents while not dealing with an emergency response.
History of “Fill the Boot”
The Fill the Boot tradition began in 1952, when a father in desperate need to help his child with muscular dystrophy went to the International Association of Fire Fighters member George Graney’s fire engine company 1 in South Boston. IAFF Local 718 immediately rounded up to 20 fire fighters and set in motion a door to door canister drive that raised $5,000. In 1953, Graney launched a citywide fundraising campaign with the help of Boston firefighters, made appeals across Massachusetts on behalf of children with muscular dystrophy. Firefighters around the world have continued this long and proud tradition to provide health care and hope for those affected.
MDA is a nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education. MDA maintains clinics for area adults and children affected by neuromuscular diseases throughout the United States.