‘Fill the Boot’ campaign raising funds for MDA

Firefighters in 40 US states will ask for donations Labor Day weekend

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by Andrea Lobo |

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More than 420 “Fill the Boot” events will raise money throughout Labor Day weekend to advance research and care for muscular dystrophy.

The campaign results from a partnership between the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). The firefighters go to the streets in more than 40 U.S. states with their boots in hand asking for donations toward MDA’s mission in scientific and clinical research, as well as better care for those with muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and related neuromuscular diseases.

“It is incredibly gratifying to see the impact of the Fill the Boot fundraising program through MDA’s mission, with new treatments for these genetic diseases, and better access to the world for families,” Roger Lopez, national coordinator of MDA/IAFF, said in a press release.

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The campaign will be shared on MDA’s and IAFF’s social media channels using the hashtag #FillTheBoot.

“While we Fill the Boot year-round, Labor Day Weekend is a special time where firefighters across the country continue to collect critical funds in the community – one dollar at a time,” he added.

Muscular dystrophy is a group of conditions that cause progressive muscle weakness and wasting. There are more than 30 types of muscular dystrophy, all with different causes and symptoms.

The MDA partnership with IAFF started in 1954, when the IAFF committed to supporting MDA’s mission, raising awareness and funds until cures are found. Over 69 years, firefighters across the country have raised approximately $690 million in funding.

“It’s the start of National Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month and is an important time of year for this longstanding tradition,” said Donald S. Wood, PhD, president and CEO at the MDA.

According to Wood, funds raised have contributed to breakthroughs in research, such as the approval of Elevidys as the first gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“Recently, the first-ever FDA approved gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy became a reality,” Wood said. “In addition, this funding over the decades has yielded four other FDA approved treatments for a variety of neuromuscular diseases in just this year alone.”

More ways ‘Fill the Boot’ funds are put to use

The funding also has helped advance care through the MDA’s National Care Center Network, a group of more than 150 healthcare institutions across the U.S. Community education and recreation, advocacy, and support also have been funded by Fill the Boot.

“The funds raised by Fill the Boot have afforded the ‘best week of the year’ to children and young adults living with neuromuscular disease at MDA Summer Camp,” Wood added.

MDA Summer Camp provides children with neuromuscular diseases the opportunity to perform several activities, from swimming and zip-lining, to horseback riding and dancing. The camps are held across the U.S. at no cost to families.